Over the last three decades we have represented dozens of victims of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to fairs and petting zoos.  See www.fair-safety.com

Here is a presentation I did 16 years and a day ago:

According to press reports, the Georgia Department of Public Health says they’ve now confirmed a total of five E. coli cases among children who attended the Georgia National Fair. That’s one more case than they reported Thursday.

Spokesman Michael Hokanson says three of the five are hospitalized. He said the numbers could rise as they get back lab results and reports from doctors. Two families have spoken out.

Ginny Crouse is the mother of two of the four children who tested positive.

“On Friday, she was dancing on the floor. On Saturday, she wasn’t even walking. It was a dramatic turn,” Crouse said as she described her daughter’s condition. “Zoey is 1 and Campbell is 3. Campbell, luckily, wasn’t one of the 15% that developed HUS.”

Stacey Wooddell says her daughter Skyler was the third child who tested positive.

“She’s had dialysis 3-4 times, multiple blood transfusions, platelet transfusions. We’re now turning the corner where she is getting better,” Wooddell said.

Anyone that attended the fair can help by completing the following survey:

Epidemiologists ask each person that visited the Georgia National Fair between Thursday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 17, to complete the survey, even if they did not become ill. All information provided to public health will remain confidential in accordance with HIPAA practices. Information will be used to investigate and determine what could have caused illness by comparing activities between those who became sick and those who did not. A map of the fairgounds is included below to aid in survey completion.

What is STEC?

E. coli is a large family of bacteria; most strains of E.coli are harmless, but some can lead to illness. STEC, shiga toxin-producing E. coli, cause illness by producing toxin. The most commonly identified STEC in North America is E.coli O157:H7.

How is STEC transmitted?

STEC infects a person most commonly when the individual ingests contaminated material. Contamination is usually caused by tiny particles of human or animal excrement. Exposures that lead to illness include eating contaminated food, drinking unpasteurized milk, drinking water that has not been disinfected, contact with live animals or contact with the feces of infected people. Examples of infection sources include petting zoos and animal exhibits, swallowing lake water while swimming or eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom. Almost everyone has some risk of infection.

What are symptoms of STEC?

STEC can lead to different symptoms for each person, but common symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and mild fever. Symptoms of STEC usually appear between three and four days, but incubation can last up to 10 days before symptoms. Most individuals recover within a week. Some infections are mild, but others may be severe or life-threatening. Very young children, elderly adults and people with chronic medical conditions have a higher risk of severe outcomes.

How can I treat STEC?

There is no specific treatment for STEC. Supportive therapy, especially hydration, is important. Antibiotics should not be used to treat infection.

What can I do to prevent STEC transmission?

You can reduce your risk of STEC prevention by following these practices:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom, changing diapers, interacting with animals and before preparing or eating food.
  • Cook meats thoroughly.
  • Avoid raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products or juices.
  • Do not swallow water from lakes, rivers, ponds or swimming pools.
  • Prevent contamination when preparing food by keeping raw meats away from other ingredients. Use different cutting boards and utensils after handling raw meat.
  • If you are ill:
    • stay away from work, school or physical activities.
    • Do not handle or prepare food for anyone but yourself.
    • Wait at least 48 hours after symptoms disappear before returning to your regular schedule.
    • If symptoms do not disappear, or if they get worse, contact your healthcare provider.
  • If you are caring for someone who is ill:
    • practice proper hand hygiene.
    • handle and dispose of the ill individual’s waste properly.
    • wash any soiled clothing or linens that may be contaminated.
    • disinfect contaminated surfaces.

For more information on STEC, visit the following CDC webpages:

Use the fairground map included here to complete the survey.

E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

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