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Romaine Lettuce Linked to E. coli Outbreak
According to the CDC, a 2018 E. coli outbreak in 36 states, including Iowa, was most likely caused by romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona. Health officials made this determination by looking at data from interviews with outbreak victims and E. coli testing done on bacterial isolates from those people and the Yuma growing area.
During the course of the investigation, 166 of the 210 people sickened were interviewed. Of those, 145 told investigators that they ate romaine lettuce in the week before they first had E. coli symptoms, including bloody diarrhea. Some of the 166 people interviewed said they had not eaten romaine lettuce but that they had been around another person who was part of the outbreak. In addition the outbreak strain of E. coli was found in canal water in the Yuma growing area. This is evidence that can be used in an E. coli lawsuit.
5 Children Have E. coli and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
In 2008, five confirmed cases of E. coli in Iowa were associated with unpasteurized apple cider. The five cases were in the following counties: Lee County (1), Iowa County (3), and Des Moines County (2). One child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. Another child from Illinois was hospitalized in Iowa with HUS. The Illinois case was not related to the Iowa cases. According to The Hawk Eye, the children endured daily dialysis:
“For more than two weeks, both children have endured almost daily dialysis and surgeries, blood transfusions and ultrasounds, among other things.
On Tuesday, Kim Althide, Kaden’s mother, said they have seen some improvements in her son’s kidney output, but dialysis treatments are continuing nearly every day.
‘We’re making baby steps,’ Althide said.”
Children who develop HUS are often in excruciating pain. Recovery is usually slow. Many children never fully recover. Because HUS can cause life-long illness and patients may need future surgeries and other medical care, compensation for HUS patients needs to include amounts for future medical expenses and future pain and suffering.
Iowa health officials did not disclosed the source of this outbreak; however, the Iowa Department of Public Health issued a press release Tuesday encouraging Iowans to avoid consuming unpasteurized juices and ciders. And, according to the story in The Hawk Eye:
“While state health officials have not disclosed the source of the outbreak, those closest to the cases believe they contracted it from the same place.
The parents of two children who have been battling the bacteria, 5-year-old Kaden Althide of Basco, Ill., and 7-year-old TiAhnna Bryant of Donnellson, said they believe their children encountered the disease from the same source during the weekend of Oct.4, 2012.
Pediatric nephrologist Patrick Brophy, the doctor for both children at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, concurred with the parents.
‘In Kaden’s case, as well as a couple other kids, they were all at a similar venue, and it looks like they probably had apple cider that contained the E. coli,’ Brophy said.”
With an E. coli lawsuit involving a contaminated food product, strict liability usually applies. This means that the victims only need to prove the following: 1) that the food was contaminated with E. coli and 2) that the contaminated food caused the E. coli infection and resulting HUS. It is not necessary to prove that anyone intentionally or negligently contaminated the food.