April 27, 2018

Huge majority of ‘hamburger disease’ patients kids

PUBLISHED : July 12, 2017 - 15:10

UPDATED : July 12, 2017 - 16:41

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[THE INVESTOR] In the past six years, 70 percent of the patients in Korea diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, commonly known “hamburger disease,” were younger than 10 years old, official data showed on July 11. 

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2011 to 2016, 443 individuals suffered from intestinal hemorrhagic E. coli infectious diseases while 24 were diagnosed with HUS. Of them, 14 were under the age of four and three patients were between the age of five and nine. 

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Intestinal hemorrhagic E. coli infectious diseases is typically a foodborne illness caused by bacterial infection of the intestine. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, sever cramps and abdominal pains that surfaces after two to 10 days of being infected.

In the case of HUS, the primary cause is usually intestinal E. coli infection, however other bacterial or viral infections, chemotherapy medications, medications containing the immunosuppressant cyclosporine, and pregnancy can cause the illness.

“Though HUS is commonly known as ‘hamburger disease’, hamburgers are not the sole cause. Consuming contaminated dairy products and vegetables can also lead to the disease,” said a KCDC official.

Children under 10 are more susceptible to HUS due to their comparatively low immune system. It can also cause life-threatening complications such as kidney failure, high blood pressure, stroke, coma, inflammatory colitis and heart problems.

By Alex Lee (

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