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United Kingdom

Girl, 4, left fighting for life after contracting the deadly E.coli bug after trip to a petting zoo 

A four-year-old girl was left fighting for her life after contracting the deadly E.coli bug after a trip to a petting zoo.

Isla Grainger spent 17 days in Southampton General Hospital after the potentially fatal infection caused her kidneys to fail and she had to be put into an induced coma in intensive care.

The girl - who contracted the harmful infection after a family trip to the Isle of Wight - is now recovering at home but is still not allowed back to school.

The family do not know where the infection came from. 

Isla Grainger (pictured) spent 17 days in hospital after the potentially fatal infection caused her kidneys to fail and she had to be put into an induced coma in intensive care

Isla (pictured at Southampton General Hospital) - who contracted the harmful infection after a family trip to Tapnell Farm in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight - is now recovering at home but is still not allowed back to school

Her mother Lauren Aspery, 21, from Whiteley in Hampshire, was terrified she would lose her only daughter after the condition quickly escalated into a 'matter of life or death'.

Isla was rushed into emergency surgery to insert a catheter and start urgent dialysis after doctors discovered the sickness bug was in fact E.coli.

The family, including Ms Aspery's partner Lewis Keith, spent a weekend visiting the farm, arcades and a beach in Sandown on the island before Isla began to have diarrhoea and sickness.

Ms Aspery also had painful stomach aches and nausea. 

She took her daughter to the emergency department at Southampton General Hospital after Isla stopped eating for three days. 

Her mother Lauren Aspery, (left) 21, from Whiteley in Hampshire, was terrified she would lose her only daughter after the condition quickly escalated into a 'matter of life or death'

Isla was rushed into emergency surgery to insert a catheter and start urgent dialysis after doctors discovered the sickness bug was in fact E.coli

Doctors realised the E.coli had developed into hemolytic uremic syndrome, affecting Isla's blood cells and vessels, resulting in kidney failure.

She then was forced to undergo surgery to remove a twisted catheter and was later moved to the intensive care unit, where she was put into an induced coma.

After coming around, Isla began her recovery with dialysis and medication.

Ms Aspery, who works for a mortgage company, said: 'It was terrifying. I thought the worst and that we were going to lose our little girl.

'I really believed this was just a bad case of sickness.

'The doctor took a breath and told us 'Isla is very very poorly, much more sick than we thought'.

Isla (pictured in her school uniform) was put into an induced coma 

'From this moment on everything that the doctor said felt like a bad dream. Isla had kidney failure. Her kidneys did not function at all and her body wasn't able to cope.

'This turned into a matter of life or death.'

E.coli is a bacteria found in the gut and faeces of many animals, particularly cattle.

The infection can be caught by eating contaminated food, touching infected animals and contact with people who have the illness.

Public Health England said its investigation into the source of the infection is ongoing.

Ms Asprey added: 'I was so pleased we had an answer and knew what has caused the failure but I'm very concerned that we are yet to find out where the E.coli was contracted from and there is a high chance other people can be putting themselves at risk.

'No matter how much someone warns you how scary things will look it will never prepare you for the moment you see your child in that way, reliant on machines to function and to breathe.

'She still has E.coli 0157 and isn't allowed back to school until she has had two clear stool samples confirmed by Public Health.

'She will most likely face problems in the future when she hits puberty and pregnancy and her future prognosis is still unknown.

'I pray no one else's son or daughter has to face what Isla has faced and I really hope we can raise awareness to other parents about this horrible bacteria that has been so innocently contracted.'

Dr Anand Fernandes, consultant in health protection for Public Health England South East, said: 'E.coli O157 can cause a range of symptoms, from mild diarrhoea to severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea and, on rare occasions, it can also cause more serious conditions.

'The best form of defence is to make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before preparing or eating food, or if you have been in contact with any animal or their faeces.'

A spokeswoman for Tapnell Farm said the team wished Isla a 'speedy recovery'.

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