In 2005, the Minnesota Department of Health began investigating an E. coli outbreak linked to bagged raw spinach. Health officials ultimately confirmed 30 cases including two cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potential fatal complication of an E. coli infection a leading cause of acute kidney failure.
One of those sickened was Ashlee Mattson, a 21-year old college student. While Ashlee's infection initially appeared routine to friends and family, blood tests showing kidney malfunctions made it immediately clear that her illness was quite severe.
Ashlee's kidneys did fail and she spent nearly a month in the hospital, where it was often unclear if she would survive. Today, the damage done by the E. coli infection has made it highly likely that Ashlee will be a high risk pregnancy risk and will require a kidney transplant by age 50.