Number of Illnesses Related to Romaine Lettuce E Coli Increases to 22; Two Related Cases of HUS in New York

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

1180881_lettuce_The recent recall of romaine lettuce by Freshway Foods has resulted now in 22 illnesses, up from a day or two ago.  Last month, two students from the Wappinger School District have fallen victim to E. coli O145 food poisoning induced cases of HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome) and were hospitalized at Westchester Medical Center.  The students hospitalized attend Roy C. Ketcham High School, John Jay High School, Wappingers Junior High School and Van Wyck Middle School.  In all, 4 students have been hospitalized, two with HUS.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a serious, often life-threatening complication of an E. coli bacterial infection.  It is now known that HUS is responsible for the majority of cases of acute kidney failure in childhood.  Of all of the cases of HUS that develop in North America, E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of them. Toxins called Shiga-like toxin develop from E. coli bacteria, entering the cells that line the large intestine.  These toxins are responsible for numerous changes in the blood, which causes cellular debris to accumulate in the tiny blood vessels of the body.  This causes a disruption of the clot-breaking mechanisms, which leads to the formation of tiny clots in the blood-vessel rich kidneys, causing impaired function and possible damage to other organs in the body.

Approximately 10% of individuals who become ill with E. coli O157:H7 will develop HUS, most of these young children.  Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome can cause permanent damage to the brain, liver, pancreas and heart.  Once HUS develops, it is extremely hard to predict how severe it will become.

These recent cases of HUS reported in New York are not the first.  In 2006, several New York residents were made severely ill, and two young girls developed HUS.  One was hospitalized for two weeks, the other already in advanced kidney failure when she entered the hospital.  She was on hemodialysis for six consecutive weeks.

E. coli food poisoning can be life-threatening.  While most healthy individuals only develop mild symptoms, some experience serious complications.  Young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should be especially cautious if you develop symptoms of E. coli, and seek medical attention at once.

A New York food poisoning attorney will discuss with you your rights, and whether you may be entitled to compensation for expenses related to your illness.  Experienced personal injury lawyers in New York can help you to determine whether you have any reason to investigate your situation legally.

E. Coli Outbreak Responsible for Illness in New York, Michigan and Ohio – Source Still Undetermined

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Recently, as many as 47 people have become sickened due to what is believed to be an outbreak of E. coli food poisoning O145 in New York, Ohio and Michigan.  Across the 3 states, 15 of these illnesses have been confirmed by laboratory testing.  Of the other 32 individuals thought to be sickened by E. coli, test results are still pending.

Several have become ill in New York lately, and these illnesses are believed to be linked to the Michigan and Ohio outbreaks of E. coli O145 as well.  It seems that most of these individuals are college students, particularly those attending Daemen College in Buffalo.  Across all three states, it seems to be college students who have been hit the hardest.

While four food sources have been tested for the bacteria to date, nothing has turned up to indicate the source of this outbreak so far.  Susan R. Cerniglia, a spokeswoman for Washtenaw Country Public Health, stated that samples tested in Michigan were not contaminated with E. coli O145, but this did not come as a surprise since the samples were collected after individuals became ill and developed e. coli symptoms of infection.

This outbreak affects students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Ohio State University in Columbus.  There are 8 confirmed cases of the infection in Michigan, 5 in Ohio, and 1 confirmed in New York, where at least 11 more may be affected.

Washtenaw County Public Health issued a news release on April 29th stating that “Local, state and federal health officials are working together to identify a food source, supplier, or distributor common to the affected areas.”

Epidemiological and trace-back investigations will be carried out by federal and state agencies; in the meantime, public health departments in these areas affected in New York, Michigan and Ohio counties are recommending anyone who develops symptoms of gastroenteritis to seek medical attention at once.  Symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea and occasional fever.

Foodborne illnesses normally cause only mild symptoms in healthy individuals, but can lead to serious complications in very young children, the elderly or those with a weakened immune system.  Contact a New York food poisoning attorney with questions about E. coli, and to learn about any rights you may have.  Unfortunately, not all personal injury attorneys in New York have experience in food poisoning cases, so make sure you choose a law firm with food poisoning experience.

E. Coli Outbreak in Colorado Prison Sickens 13 Inmates

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Four Mile Prison, a Canon City, Colorado prison housing about 500 inmates, has recently been hit with an E. Coli outbreak that has sickened 13 inmates.  Three of these cases have been confirmed through testing for the bacteria.  This correctional facility houses only male inmates.

This recent outbreak was announced by the Colorado Department of Corrections, who stated that the state health department is investigating to determine the source of the outbreak.  Kitchens at the prison have been checked off as being sanitary following inspections.

While the investigation continues, the Department of Corrections is working in conjunction with the CDPHE in order to stop the spread of the bacteria, and is taking all necessary precautions.  Katherine Sanguinetti, DOC spokeswoman, stated that the outbreak was discovered on April 22nd, and that three inmates were receiving E. Coli treatment for their illnesses at the correctional center infirmary.  She said that if the three prisoners become seriously ill, they will be transferred to the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility infirmary, which is located in Canon City as well.

A large percent of E. Coli food poisoning infections are caused by foodborne illness, and Sanguinetti stated that none of the inmates who were ill had been working at the prison dairy.

While estimates are not exact, microbiologists approximate that over 70,000 Americans are sickened each year from E. Coli bacterial infections.  The largest source of these infections is ground beef, and about 5 to 15% of these 70,000 will develop HUS, which can be life threatening.

Foods that often contain the bacteria include ground beef, sausages, unpasteurized milk and cheese, lettuce, spinach and other drinks that are not pasteurized, such as apple juice or cider.  Most people who become sick with E. Coli develop mild E. Coli symptoms that go away on their own.  These symptoms include nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.  Certain groups of individuals may develop serious complications, including young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

If you develop symptoms of E. Coli, see your doctor.  You may consider contacting a New York food poisoning attorney to determine if you may be eligible for compensation of costs related to your illness.  Personal injury attorneys can often times quickly determine whether you have a qualifying cases related to your illnesses.

1 Child Dead, 3 Sickened After Spread of E. Coli in Washington State Daycare

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Despite what health officials thought were appropriate hygienic practices, E. coli has spread through a Vancouver, Washington daycare leaving one child dead and three other ill.  A 4-year-old boy died recently, one of the four children hospitalized because of the infection.  The facility, Fletch Family Daycare, is now closed.

Dr. Alan Melnick, a health officer with the Clark County Washington health department, said that the other three children have since been released from the hospital.  Melnick declined to offer any further details concerning the young boy who died. According to him, the health department first learned of the first hospitalization related to E. coli O157:H7 bacteria strain on March 19th of this year.

The daycare is owned and operated by Dianne and Larry Fletch, and has been open since 1990.  Recently, the center cared for approximately 22 children.  Up to this point, no complaints had ever been filed against the daycare.  Health officials closed the daycare on April 2 when it became evident that E. coli food poisoning was spreading from person to person, but found that the hygienic practices of the business were acceptable.  So far, officials have not been able to pinpoint the exact source of the outbreak .  Melnick stated that until affected staff present no presence of the bacteria during two consecutive tests, the daycare facility will remain closed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that daycare centers are a common setting of E. coli food poisoning outbreaks that spread person to person.  The bacteria are normally spread through fecal-oral contact.  Children often do not wash their hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet, which can lead to spread of the pathogen.

Larry Fletch, owner of the in-home daycare, stated in an interview to KGW-TV that the death of the 4-year-old boy was horrible, and that they had known him since before he was born.  He also stated that they have been trying to help the family and were close to the boy, as they are to all of the children they care for.

Young children are particularly susceptible to contracting HUS, or hemolytic uremic syndrome after becoming infected with E. coli.  This often leads to kidney failure, and it is estimated that about 5 to 15% of people infected with E. coli develop HUS.

If you have become ill with E. coli food poisoning, contact a doctor at once.  Consult with a New York food poisoning attorney to learn of any rights you may have related to foodborne illness.

Brown Chiari is a team of talented personal injury attorneys in Lancaster New York.