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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

E. coli, HUS, raw milk, and Missouri: past and present

missouri map.jpgCentral Missouri is the epicenter of what may be a raw milk E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 5 people, and caused 2 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.  The dairy that produced the contaminated milk is not yet publicly known.  The Missouri E. coli illnesses include 3 people from Boone County, including a 2-year-old child who is currently hospitalized.  All 3 of these people consumed raw milk in the days before illness onset, and for the other 2 cases in the outbreak, from Cooper and Howard counties, raw milk consumption is not yet known.  One of these cases is a 17-month-old child who, like the 2-year-old, developed HUS. 

So what of Missouri’s history with E. coli and HUS?  Missouri residents are certainly no stranger to E. coli, HUS, or HUS caused by E. coli infection, which, in turn, was caused by raw milk.  Multiple Missouri residents developed hemolytic uremic syndrome late last fall during the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce at Schnucks grocery stores, and processed by Vaughan Foods, out of Oklahoma. 

And here are a few more examples:

  • Herb Depot and Autumn Olive Farm Unpasteurized (Raw) Goat Milk 2008: A child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after consuming raw goat’s milk that had been purchased at a local store, the Herb Depot. Another child was identified to have E.coli O157:H7; this child’s family reported consuming milk that had been purchased from the same store. The investigation found that the milk had been produced by Autumn Olive Farm. The strain of E.coli found in this outbreak was unique and shared by three laboratory confirmed cases.
  • Totino’s frozen pizza E. coli O157:H7 outbreak (2007): At least 21 people were sickened by E. coli O157:H7 after eating Totino’s or Jeno’s brand pizzas produced by General Mills in Fall 2007. Outbreak victims were from Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. General Mills initiated a broad recall of the contaminated products after they were linked to E. coli illnesses in the outbreak.
  • Kids Korner Daycare E. coli Outbreak 2004: Marler Clark represented the family of a two-year-old boy and his eight-month-old sister who both attended Kids’ Korner and became ill with E. coli infections. The two-year-old boy developed HUS and was hospitalized for nearly three weeks. He endured a full week of dialysis, seven transfusions, three surgeries, and a severe case of pancreatitis. Many other children were also sickened in the outbreak, and several of them developed HUS.

Marler Clark represented injured people in all of the above outbreaks, and more, in Missouri.