Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)

Sad child with mother
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
March 28, 2022

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) occurs when your red blood cells are destroyed and block your kidneys' filters. HUS is most often caused by infection with the E. coli bacteria, but it can also be caused by other bacteria and viruses and some medicines, or from an inherited gene mutation. This disease usually happens suddenly in children, and the first symptoms can seem like those of a stomach virus. As the infection continues, HUS can become more serious and can cause acute kidney injury, leading to chronic kidney disease, or kidney failure.

There are ways to treat HUS and its complications, and it is important to seek treatment at a hospital quickly to avoid permanent damage to your health. In most cases, people will recover completely and have no lasting effects from HUS. You may be able to prevent HUS by preventing infection by the E. coli bacteria, by washing your hands, making sure your meat is fully cooked before eating and not letting raw meat come in contact with the things you eat.

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