Lynden family mourns their 'fun-loving' 3-year-old who died from E. coli infection

LYNDEN, Wash. -- "A fun-loving kid who loved to dance and sing and anything to do with pink and princesses.”

That's how the family of little Brooklyn Hoksbergen describes the 3-year-old Lynden girl who died Friday after being stricken by the E. coli bacteria.

"To have a child die from an infection is always tragic," said Dr. Greg Stern of the Whatcom County Health Department, which is investigating how Brooklyn came down with the infection.

Her parents have no idea how she became infected. It can be transmitted from person to person but neither Brooklyn’s three older sisters nor her parents got sick.

"We don’t have any known associated cases," said Stern. "We don’t have anyone to compare or identify common risk factors."

Those risk factors include eating or handling undercooked meats or swallowing lake or pond water containing the bacteria. Ways to reduce the risk are careful hand washing after using the bathroom and before preparing meals or eating.

Symptoms of E. coli include severe stomach cramping, diarrhea, and bloody diarrhea within 24 hours.

Unfortunately, small children are more susceptible to the complications caused by E. coli, including kidney and other organ failure.

That’s what happened to Brooklyn, and though health officials don’t know the cause, Stern said hey are conducting tests on the bacteria sample to see if it matches up with any other cases.

"If we do get a match, then that would lead to more investigation to find out what the cases had in common."