Forty pediatric patients with idiopathic hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) were investigated for evidence of infection by Verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC). Fecal VTEC (belonging to at least six different O serogroups including O26, O111, O113, O121, O145, and O157) or specifically neutralizable free-fecal Verotoxin (VT) or both were detected in 24 (60%) patients but were not detected in 40 matched controls. Ten of 15 of the former developed fourfold or greater rises in VT-neutralizing antibody titers, as did six other patients who were negative for both fecal VTEC and VT. A total of 30 (75%) patients had evidence of VTEC infection by one or more criteria. We concluded that a significant association exists between idiopathic HUS and infection by VTEC. The detection of free-fecal VT was the most important procedure for the early diagnosis of this infection because, in our study, VTEC were never isolated in the absence of fecal VT, whereas fecal VT was often present even when VTEC were undetectable.