Another bad statistic to add to

On June 28, 2019, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported four confirmed or probable pediatric cases of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) that may be related to contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair.

As of July 31, 2019, 11 confirmed cases and two probable cases have been reported in this outbreak. Three people were hospitalized and one child has died. The outbreak has been determined to be caused by a specific strain of STEC O157:H7.

San Diego County Department of Environmental Health Food Inspectors conducted investigations of the food booths associated with the reported foods consumed by the ill cases. There were no commonalities between food items and food booths. Any major violations observed were addressed at the time of the site visit and fixed. Re-inspections were conducted to ensure those violations remained fixed. Inspectors also conducted site visits at non-foodborne illness reported booths to conduct focused inspections on sanitizing procedures for consumer counters and self-service condiment containers, handwashing procedures, handwashing supplies and hot water.

All cases in this outbreak did report visiting the animal areas, which included the petting zoo, or had other animal contact at the fair. Animal and environmental testing conducted to date by the County and State has found no STEC O157:H7 bacteria. This investigation included testing of all petting zoo animals, all pony ride horses, and two cattle from the livestock barn that were present throughout the possible timeframe that the cases visited the fair. In addition, 32 environmental samples from the petting zoo and livestock barn showed no signs of STEC bacteria.

The potential sources of the outbreak remain under investigation, however a specific source may not be able to be determined.

The San Diego County Fair came to its 2019 season close on July 4th.

Interestingly, yesterday I gave a speech on both the legal risks of raw milk and petting zoos and county fairs.

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 $650 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.