Several children developed Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli infections (STEC) after visiting the Georgia National Fair October 7 – October 17 in Perry. Three of them have been hospitalized and are receiving dialysis, transfusions, and other care consistent with treatment for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections.
The North Central Health District (NCHD) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) said that as of November 1 the Georgia National Fair E. coli outbreak includes five children who attended the fair. The children live in counties throughout Georgia.
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A STEC culture from one of the patients has undergone further testing and has been confirmed to be E. coli O157:H7. There are many strains of E. coli and some are harmless to humans. But STEC cause severe illness because Shiga toxins are poisonous to humans. Ruminant animals including cattle, sheep, and goats are the primary reservoirs of STEC.
Parents of three of the sick children spoke with WMAZ about their frightening ordeals.
Stacey Wooddell’s and her daughter Skyler attended the fair on October 9 and Skyler fell ill soon after. Eleven days ago she was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta where she received dialysis, blood transfusions, and platelet transfusions. Stacey told WMAZ the cow barn and a steak and potatoes food truck may be two common exposures for the sick children.
Ginny Crouse and her daughters Campbell, 4, and Zoey, 2, visited the fair on October 13 and 14 and were both very sick by October 16. Campbell has recovered from her illness, little Zoey has HUS, and remains hospitalized.
Petting Zoos, Animal Exhibits are Commonly Linked to E. coli Outbreaks
The NCHD and DPH are working with the staff of the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter to investigate the outbreak. They will try to identify common sources of exposure for these children.
Petting zoos and animal exhibits are common sources of E. coli outbreaks. Our E. coli lawyers have represented the families of many children who developed E. coli infections after visiting a petting zoo or animal exhibit at a fair. We recently won a $7.55 verdict for one of these cases. Because they have seen first-hand the profound impact these illnesses can have, our E. coli lawyers have lobbied for laws mandating safety practices at animal exhibits.
Below are just a few examples of E. coli outbreaks linked to petting zoos.
- Pritzker Hageman E. coli Lawyers File MN State Fair Petting Zoo Lawsuit
- Settlement Reached for E. coli-HUS from Petting Zoo
- More Children Sick in E.coli Outbreak Linked to San Diego County Fair
- Mesa County Fair E. coli Outbreak, Law Firm Investigating
- Red River Valley Fair E. coli Outbreak Sickens 3, One has HUS
- Michigan Fair E. coli
- North Carolina Fair E. coli
- Cleveland County Fair E. coli and HUS Outbreak in NC: Lawyer Shares 5 Things about E. coli and HUS Kidney Failure
Miracle of Birth, Baby Barn Lawsuit
There was also a “baby barn” exhibit at the Georgia National Fair where attendees could see baby animals and watch pregnant cows give birth. In January 2020, Pritzker Hageman E. coli lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 4-year-old boy who suffered permanent kidney damage from an infection he contracted after visiting the Miracle of Birth Center at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. He was one of 11 people sickened in the E. coli outbreak linked to an educational exhibit that features the live birth of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and other animals.
“We believe that this E. coli outbreak could have been prevented,” E. coli attorney Tariq Miller told the Pioneer Press at the time. “It’s disheartening to see young children continue to suffer when the dangers associated with petting zoos are well known. The CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health have published recommendations on how these risks can be minimized. Had the Fair followed these recommendations, this outbreak would not have occurred.”
Experienced E. coli Lawyers
Pritzker Hageman E. coli lawyers have represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the U.S. If your child is part of the Georgia National Fair E. coli outbreak and you would like a free consultation with an experienced E. coli lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Legal Team. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and you don’t pay us unless we win.
This post was published October 29, 2021 and updated November 1 to include an additional illness.