E. coli and HUS Outbreak in Washington County, Oregon

Our law firm is investigating an E. coli and HUS outbreak that has sickened several people in Washington County, Oregon. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a complication that causes kidney failure, which then can lead to additional severe illness, including brain damage, heart failure, diabetes, blindness, pancreatitis and wrongful death.

The cluster of diarrheal illness caused by Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) or “STEC” bacteria may have been caused by one or both of the following, according to Washington County Public Health:

  • contact with livestock at the Washington County Fair
  • food items unrelated to the fair.
E. coli Testing
Testing is being done to help find the source of the illnesses. You can contact our law firm for information about PFGE and WGS testing used in outbreak investigations.

Anyone who attended the Washington County Fair and has had (or develops) any of the following symptoms should call their health care provider:

  • severe abdominal (stomach) cramps;
  • diarrhea, particularly if it is bloody;
  • vomiting;
  • fever (not often a symptom and, when it is, often low-grade).

With children, the infection can quickly develop into HUS. Watch urine output. If it does not seem to be normal, get to a doctor immediately. HUS is so horrendous and can be fatal. We have represented families of little ones who did not survive, and it is just heartbreaking.  The following are signs of HUS:

  • decreased urination
  • feeling very tired
  • losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

HUS often develops after the earlier symptoms of diarrhea have improved. Also, the CDC recommends that antibiotics not be used to treat E. coli infections because these medications may be a factor in developing HUS. Please discuss this with your doctor.

Our E. coli lawyers have helped children and their families get compensation and justice for E. coli infections and HUS from food and from animal contact.

Every case of E. coli is caused by by feces. In the case of a fair, it is generally contact with an animal that results in trace amounts of contaminated feces on little hands that then go into the mouth or touch an eye. Contaminated food is the more frequent source of outbreaks. The bacteria can contaminate the food at any point from field to fork, and a lawsuit against more than one company is often possible. These lawsuits bring to light facts that help families get answers and compensation.


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Category: Food Poisoning
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