Shiga-Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC) O145 Outbreak in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee

Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) O145 infections in 6 states are part of the same outbreak, but the investigation has not uncovered

the source of the outbreak.  To date 15 people in 6 states have been sickened, and a little girl in Louisiana died. The states affected include the following: Alabama (2), California (1), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Louisiana (5), and Tennessee (1).

Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from April 15, 2012 to May 12, 2012. Ill persons range in age from 1 year to 79 years old, with a median age of 31 years old; 73% are female. Four ill persons have been hospitalized. One death has been reported in Louisiana.

Because it can take weeks for an E. coli case to be reported to the CDC, the CDC may not have information on some people sickened after May 5, 2012. The CDC is working with state public health officials to identify additional cases.


Finding a Specific E. coli O145 Food Source is not Necessary for Lawsuit

Health officials have not been able to pinpoint a specific food that caused the outbreak, even though they have interviewed most of the victims and parents of young victims. These interviews are done to obtain information regarding foods the victims might have eaten and other exposures in the week before illness.  This is called epidemiological evidence, and it can be used in a lawsuit against food processors, restaurants and others.

Even if a specific food product is not fingered as the source of the outbreak, there may be sufficient epidemiological and microbiological evidence to find someone legally responsible for the illnesses. Contact our E. coli lawyers for a free consultation today.

Advice to Consumers from the CDC

  • Practice proper hygiene, especially good hand washing
    • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food. Wash your hands after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).
    • Always wash your hands before preparing and feeding bottles or foods to  your infant, before touching your infant’s mouth, and before touching pacifiers or other things that go into your infant’s mouth.
    • If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
  • It is also important to keep all objects that enter infants’ mouths (such as pacifiers and teethers) clean.
  • Know your risk for food poisoning.  People at higher-risk for foodborne illness are pregnant women and newborns, children, older adults and those with weak immune systems.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F/70˚C. It’s best to use a thermometer, as color is not a very reliable indicator of how thoroughly meat has been cooked.
  • Avoid consuming raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices (like fresh apple cider).
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming or playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.
  • Prevent cross-contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Persons who think they might be ill with STEC should consult their healthcare providers and our law firm.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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