A 10-year-old French boy has died after struggling with years of medical complications resulting from a severe case of E. coli in 2011.
Nolan Moittie died Saturday "as a consequence of his poisoning," his family lawyer, Florence Rault, told Agence France-Presse.
The boy fell ill in June 2011 when he was just under 2 years old after consuming a beef patty purchased from Lidl, a German global discount supermarket chain that operates over 10,000 stores across Europe and the U.S.
The disease caused Nolan severe nerve damage and left him paralyzed and mentally handicapped, according to his lawyer, who said that the boy had not "ceased to suffer" until his death.
"His limbs became deformed, his bones would break and he had to undergo different kinds of surgeries," Rault said on behalf of Nolan's family. "He could not eat, swallow, speak or move because he had no more ability to coordinate."
"His body finally gave up," she added.
Although 14 other children were also sickened by the burgers, Nolan appears to have been the worst related case of E. coli poisoning, the BBC reports.
The company that supplied the tainted meat to Lidl, a firm called SEB, which is based in Saint-Dizier, France, was investigated following the outbreak and, in 2017, ex-SEB boss Guy Lamorlette was sentenced to three years in jail, one of which was suspended, and fined $55,000 over the food poisonings.
Humans are typically exposed to E. coli bacteria through contaminated water or food, especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli within a week, young children and older adults have a greater risk of developing a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of E. coli infection, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, usually begin three or four days after exposure to the bacteria.
The CDC recommends washing fruits and vegetables before consumption and cooking meat thoroughly to prevent E. coli infections.