Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 24, 2012 – There are two new large-scale cases of E. coli poisoning, Escherichia coli O157:H7, in the U.S.
In late October, an E. coli outbreak sickened more than 100 attendees at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported that a two-year-old child died from the bacteria and a dozen other people that were affected required hospitalization. Officials are comparing the incident to one in 2011 at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, where 27 people were fell ill after spending time in the fairground livestock building.
Public health officials have stated that it may take at least one month to trace the source of the outbreak: E. coli has a long incubation period, and individuals who were infected might not exhibit symptoms, which include diarrhea, nausea and dehydration, for as many as ten days after exposure. E. coli infection by food handlers is considered easily preventable, if they wash their hands and carefully disinfect kitchen surfaces. E. coli infection may also be caused by consuming unpasteurized milk or juice, or by eating tainted lettuce, spinach or undercooked ground beef. E. coli infection causes an estimated quarter of a million illnesses every year in the U.S., and approximately 100 deaths per year.
The second recent case of E. coli illnesses happened in Michigan, where health officials are currently investigating if raw, unpasteurized apple cider was the cause of multiple reports of E. coli infection in Antrim County residents.
The Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Dr. Joshua Meyerson, advises everyone to consume apple cider only from licensed vendors or facilities, whether pasteurized or unpasteurized. He stated that shiga toxin-producing E. coli grows when food is eaten that is contaminated with either human or animal feces. “A licensed facility must prove it has the necessary safeguards in place to prevent E. coli and other sorts of contamination,” agrees Waxahachie personal injury lawyer, John Hale.
The Northwest Michigan Health Department has partnered with the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Community Health to chase down unpasteurized, unlabeled apple cider produced by an unlicensed facility. The strain of E. coli has yet to be determined, but was part of a shiga toxin-producing strain. The illnesses in this instance developed over a two-week period.
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