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Kansas City woman wonders if her E. coli case is linked to recall

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A young Kansas City woman wonders if her case of E. Coli infection could be linked to the recall of ground beef that was shipped to distributors for restaurant use in Missouri and three other states.

Crystal Skram said she got sick on April 22. She wound up getting a life-threatening syndrome that sometimes develops with E. Coli infection.

Skram is recovering at home almost a month after the first symptoms of diarrhea, headache and fever.

"My stomach. Oh, my God. My stomach hurt so bad," recalled Skram.

But she went on to Texas on vacation. She was hospitalized there after her stools turned bloody. Around five percent of E. coli infections lead to something called HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome. It did in Skram.

"That causes blood cells to attack themselves and organs to shut down," said her step-mother, Allison Skram.

Skram's kidneys shut down. Her body, retaining fluid, ballooned by 30 pounds. She had to go on dialysis.

"They thought I was gonna die. They thought I wasn't going to make it. I didn't know that," Skram said.

She was in the hospital for 20 days. Her recovery, she's told, will take three months.

Skram says she had eaten ground beef at a Kansas City restaurant in the days before she became ill. Now she wonders if her illness is linked to the recall of E. Coli-tainted ground beef. It had been distributed for restaurant use in Missouri and three other states.

The government says it's identified 11 people sickened so far. They became ill between April 22 and May 2.

"You don't think about it when you eat something that could be undercooked. You don't know," said Skram.

Her step-mother added, "I'm sure we'll pursue trying to find out how this happened."

In the mean time, they say do what the government advises -- make sure the ground beef you eat is cooked to at least 160 degrees.

E. coli infections happen, on average, three to four days after you eat the bad meat.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department says it's not investigating any cases related to the recall. But because Skram was hospitalized in Texas, it hadn't been aware of her case until now.

Meanwhile, Kansas health officials say they're looking into seven cases of E. coli, but none in the Kansas City area. That includes three cases from Wichita of children with HUS, the life-threatening syndrome. Health officials say they do not know whether the cases are related to the recall.

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