Bean and Seed Sprouts Source of E. Coli Outbreak in Germany; Rarer Forms Now a Concern in United States

Monday, August 8th, 2011

After weeks of E. Coli illnesses that have taken 35 lives in Germany, left 3,255 ill and 812 with kidney failure, it has been determined that bean and seed sprouts are the source of the E. Coli bacteria.  Previously it was thought that the illnesses could be originating from cucumbers, tomatoes or lettuce.  It could well have been that eating the salad ingredients in combination with sprouts led to the confusion of which foods were actually to blame.

Now it has been found that rarer forms of E. Coli are being detected in the United States.  Recently, federal officials stated that national monitoring of foodborne illnesses revealed that a growing number of illnesses last year from a group of rare E. Coli bacteria related to the highly dangerous strain that has been sweeping across Germany.

It seems that the most common form of E. Coli affecting U.S. citizens, O157:H7, was not the predominant strain in the year 2010.  Those rarer strains recently found in Germany accounted for more illnesses during this time period.  These statistics are probably due to the fact more laboratories in the U.S. have begun testing for the presence of these rare strains.  Thankfully, the rarer strains of E. Coli detected in individuals in the U.S. have led to fewer deaths and less illness than E. Coli O157:H7 typically causes.

This new information demonstrating an increase in rare forms of E. Coli in the U.S. may add fuel to the growing debate about whether government officials should require meat packers to test for these rarer strains, and whether it should be made illegal to sell beef products that contain the bacteria.

New rules have been drafted by the Agriculture Department concerning the non-O157 forms of E. Coli, but these new rules have been stalled in review by the Obama administration.   If you fear you have acquired food poisoning, make sure that you obtain treatment as soon as possible, but first and foremost always be careful to understand the diagnosis and use methods of E. Coli prevention to protect your health.

Food poisoning involving E. Coli food poisoning bacteria typically causes symptoms that include bloody diarrhea, stomach tenderness or cramps and nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting.  Young children, pregnant women and the elderly are most at risk of developing serious complications such as HUS (hemolytic-uremic syndrome), a condition that often leads to kidney failure.

Brown Chiari is a team of New York food poisoning lawyers dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients.  Contact us for a free evaluation of your case.

Should U.S. Citizens Be Concerned About the Recent E. Coli Outbreak in Germany?

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Many U.S. citizens are concerned following a deadly outbreak of E. Coli in Germany recently.  While it was first thought that the E. Coli food poisoning originated with cucumbers, those living in northern Germany are now being warned against eating raw vegetables period.  No salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. If you ever become ill from food poisoning, it is smart to obtain a diagnosis of your illness and if necessary obtain E. Coli Treatment for risk prevention. You can learn about common E. Coli symptoms here.

Dr. Jorg Debatin, director of the Hamburg Medical Center, stated that “At this point, we still have to assume it has something to do with vegetables.”  Debatin stated to CNN on June 3rd that the source is still a mystery.  In recent days, several individuals in the U.S. have become ill with E. Coli, but these individuals had visited Germany and are believed to have contracted it there.

In what is now being called the deadliest outbreak of E. Coli, at least 19 have died in Europe and about 2,000 are believed to be infected in at lease 12 countries according to the World Health Organization.   Authorities are investigating, and believe they may be getting closer to determining the source of the potentially deadly bacteria.  Bean sprouts were suspected recently, but officials say it’s still to early to say precisely what the source of the E. Coli is.

Thus far there have been 573 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) confirmed in Europe.  HUS is a form of kidney failure; this is the highest number of cases ever recorded in an outbreak of E. Coli worldwide.

Should citizens in the U.S. be concerned about becoming infected with E. Coli?  Probably not.  Since the origin of the outbreak has yet to be determined and began in Europe, it isn’t likely that anyone in the U.S. will contract food poisoning, which isn’t contagious from one person to another.  Even though a few individuals who visited Germany have returned to the U.S. with the illness, there is no cause for alarm.

Additionally, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers imported to the U.S. from Spain and Germany will be tested prior to being sold in the U.S. according to David Elder of the FDA.  Only a small amount of produce sold in the United States each year originates from Germany and Spain.

Hopefully the source of this outbreak will be determined soon before more people become ill or possibly lose their lives in Europe.

Brown Chiari is a team of Buffalo food poisoning lawyers dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients.  Contact one of our Buffalo personal injury attorneys for a free evaluation of your case.

E. Coli O111 Outbreak Takes Four Lives in Japan

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Central Japan is where 56 people (some reports claim as many as 70) have become ill and 4 people have died recently due to an outbreak of E. Coli O111.  Two of the fatalities were children.  According to reports in the media, one pre-school age boy was hospitalized after becoming ill on April 21st.  He died six days later.  The second boy fell ill on April 24th and died on April 29th.

A chain restaurant by the name of Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu that is run by Foods Forus Co. seems to be the source of the food poisoning.  Both boys who died were infected with an identical strain of E. Coli O111, and both had eaten at the chain restaurant.  Since the outbreak, all 20 restaurants have been closed.

The common thread in this tragedy seems to be yukhoe, a Korean dish that contains raw beef and is said to be similar to tartare.

In addition to the two boys, two women died after eating the same dish at Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu.  Nineteen of the remaining 56 cases of food poisoning were said to be serious with victims having “critical symptoms” according to reports.

The health ministry in Japan requires that raw meat be tested for bacteria.  The president of Foods Forus Co., Yasuhiro Kanzaka, acknowledged that the company had not tested raw meat for bacteria over the past two years.  Kanzaka is quoted in reports as stating that the company assumed that the meat they used would always be bacteria-free because they had never had a positive result in previous bacteria tests.

The type of E. Coli involved in this outbreak is a type that is not routinely tested for in the United States.  It is evidently very deadly, so perhaps leaders in the food safety industry should take a closer look.  The USDA may be moving at a faster pace following this nightmare, which should actually bring about changes in our own country.  It would be tragic for the U.S. to do nothing until such a disaster strikes in our own country.

Food poisoning is typically not serious in normal, healthy adults.  However, certain people are at an increased risks of serious complications and even death.  These individuals include the elderly, young children and those with a weakened immune system such as those who are recipients of organ transplants or who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Certain strains of E. Coli O111 are capable of causing HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is life threatening and often leads to kidney failure, particularly in young children.

Those who have become ill after consuming foods contaminated with various strains of bacteria may have rights to compensation for their E. Coli Treatment.  Contact the New York food poisoning attorneys at Brown Chiari for a free evaluation of your case.