MIDDLETON, Idaho — Tripp Odiaga is a rodeo star in the making.
“He’s a very spunky, energetic little cowboy,” Tripp’s mother Shyann Wilson said.
But now, the nine-year-old cowboy is bucking a big health scare. Wilson said Tripp got sick on Labor Day.
“We thought maybe he was just dehydrated,” Wilson said. “So, you know, I kept him home from school. And he still wasn't feeling up to snuff, and so kept him home another day and his symptoms just progressed.”
Doctors diagnosed Tripp with E. coli two days later. Wilson said he has a very serious type called the Shiga toxin.
Ever since, Tripp has been at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
Wilson says experts think he got E. coli from livestock – which Tripp is around often. He rides bulls and helps out with his family’s livestock.
“He probably came in to eat after he'd been, you know, working cows or doing whatever with the cattle or the steers and ate and probably didn't wash his hands,” Wilson said. "If he did, it probably wasn't that great. And that's most likely how he contracted it.”
Most people are able to recover from E. coli without medical help,” said Andy Nutting, Southwest District Health epidemiologist. But there are exceptions – like Tripp.
Tripp ended up getting another infection that is attacking his kidneys. Wilson said doctors are monitoring his platelet levels. If things progress poorly, he may need dialysis.
She said Tripp is feeling a little bit better after receiving a blood transfusion on Wednesday. But the future is very unknown at this point.
“I think the hardest part is just having a doctor sit down and tell you that your nine-year-old kid is not out of the woods yet,” Wilson said. “It's probably been like the scariest thing I've ever had to experience in my entire life.”
Through this experience, Wilson wants to raise awareness around the dangers of E. coli and the potential of getting it through livestock.
“This has really opened my eyes as to why it is so important to make sure that our kids have good hygiene when it comes to washing their hands,” Wilson said, “because this is what it could end up like.”
Washing your hands is the best way to prevent getting E. coli from livestock, which Nutting said is actually fairly common.
Wilson said she is planning on buying Tripp his own bottle of hand sanitizer that he can carry around with him.
In the meantime, Wilson said Tripp keeps on fighting, and hopefully, he’s back on a bull sometime soon.
“It has been an uphill battle,” Wilson said, “He is the toughest kid that I know.”
There is a GoFundMe set up to help cover Tripp’s medical costs.
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