The Times reports that Weightman Middle School seventh-grader Kayla Nicole Sutter collapsed in her family’s Meadow Pointe home and was found dead Wednesday morning, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Kayla had been ill since Saturday with a 103-degree fever and had visited an emergency room early in the week.
Medical investigators are now trying to determine whether her death is linked to the same syndrome that has affected 11 children this week, who had all tested positive for hemolytic uremic syndrome (or HUS) that results from an infection of E. coli. Like those children, Kayla had visited the Florida Strawberry Festival’s petting zoo.
“In this particular death we are waiting for pathology and toxicology reports to see if it can be determined if it happened to this patient,” Dr. Marc Yacht, medical director of the Pasco County Health Department, told the Times on Friday . “It’s a suspect case, but the clinical picture of this child doesn’t necessarily line up with what we would normally see in an HUS case.”
“There’s one aspect of Kayla’s case that would make HUS unlikely, Yacht said. “Although there are fatalities involving HUS,” he said, “children survive it.” The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office ruled out anything suspicious in Kayla’s death, the Sheriff’s Office said, but has not yet determined the cause.”