Did Oklahoma Youth Expo Follow Rules Preventing Spread of HUS and E. coli?

Oklahoma Youth Expo livestock extravaganza draws families from all of Oklahoma's 77 counties every March in Oklahoma City. The 10-day event is known as the world's largest junior livestock show and this year's OYE -- after concluding March 21 -- has been the subject of a public health investigation into the spread of E. coli poisoning. Individuals from more than 10 families have been stricken.

HUS E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law team have represented individuals in past E. coli outbreaks associated with livestock shows, animal exhibits and petting zoos and his firm has commenced its own probe of the Youth Expo E. coli outbreak. “It is vitally important that no stone be left unturned to find the source of this outbreak,” said attorney Pritzker. “Once the source is known, steps can be taken to adequately compensate the children and their families.''

In past outbreaks, operators have learned from mistakes that have put children at risk and families have won lawsuits that tied unsafe conditions to the spread of disease. For years now, a variety of public health authorities have been issuing standards of safety to prevent the spread of fecal bacteria to humans attending animal shows of all kinds. Those protections -- including a comprehensive set advanced by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- are vital to protecting the young and old. 

Even if the exact source of the OYE E. coli outbreak is never found, it may be possible for injured families to be compensated through litigation. Mr. Pritzker has helped clients get compensation after being sickened by cattle, goats and llama. He also won a wrongful death settlement for parents whose young son died after attending a state fair where animals were on display. The specific source of that outbreak was never determined. Contact Fred or another lawyer at the firm by calling 1-888-377-8900. Consultations are free and can begin with an online contact.

Chitosan Microparticles Promising Alternative to Antibiotics to Treat E. coli in Cattle

A study out of the University of Florida looked at chitosan microparticles (CM) as an alternative to antibiotics to reduce E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in cattle. The problem with the use of antibiotics is that E. coli and other dangerous pathogens can become resistant, creating a situation where the antibiotic can't be used to treat human illness. Finding an alternative treatment for cattle would both prevent E. coli food poisoning and the mutation of E. coli bacteria into super bugs that are resistant to antibiotics.

The study looked at how CM, derived from shrimp shells, work to kill E. coli O157:H7 cells. The research team found that CM "disrupts bacterial cell membranes by interactions with the outer membrane protein OmpA at neutral pH, leading to cell death." In addition, CM did not induce Shiga-toxin production in E. coli O157:H7. This is important because antibiotics do induce the production of Shiga toxins, and the CDC recommends not using them to treat E. coli infections in humans. Shiga toxins cause severe hemorrhagic colitis, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). HUS and TTP can lead to kidney failure, brain damage, heart failure, blindness, pancreatitis and wrongful death

“Dangerous infections are diminishing the role of some antibiotics, making them less able to treat infections, as pathogens are developing resistance to the drugs,” said Professor Kwang Cheol Jeong, one of the researchers on the team. He added that about 23,000 people die in the U.S. annually because of exposure to pathogens that don’t respond to antibiotics.

This study was published online March 21 by the journal PLoS ONE. The paper was written by Kwang Cheol Jeong, Soo Jin Jeon and Klibs Galvao.

Minnesota Lawyer Investigates Salmonella Outbreak Associated with Maple Grove Restaurant

Our law firm has been contacted about a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in Minnesota associated with eating at a Maple Grove restaurant. Attorney Ryan Osterholm is leading our law firm’s investigation into a lawsuit against the restaurant for compensation, including medical bills, lost income due to time taken off of work, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages.

Ryan is providing free consultations to people who are diagnosed with Salmonella food poisoning. You can contact Ryan at 1-888-377-8900 or click here to fill out our free consultation form.

The investigation will include gathering evidence proving food served at the restaurant caused the outbreak. Food and restaurant surfaces will be tested for Salmonella, and any Salmonella isolates found will be further tested. The results of these tests are generally admissible evidence. The outbreak investigation has just started, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has not reported positive tests or that a specific food source has been found.

If the outbreak was caused by nationally distributed food product, there may be other restaurants involved in this outbreak, and the outbreak may spread to other states. At this time, the outbreak investigation is focused on food served at the Maple Grove Old Country Buffet.

Anyone who is diagnosed with Salmonella food poisoning should contact attorney Ryan Osterholm immediately. You should call even if you did not eat at the Maple Grove Old Country Buffet.

Chicken Liver Pate Linked to Campylobacteriosis Outbreak in Oregon and Ohio

Chicken Livers CampylobacterChicken liver pate has been linked to a Campylobacter outbreak that has sickened people in Oregon and Ohio. The cases in Ohio ate chicken liver pate while visiting Oregon. Campylobacter can cause serious illness and death. One of our clients developed Guillain-Barre syndrome from a Campylobacter infection (campylobacteriosis) and is still paralyzed 3 years later.

Chicken liver pate was implicated in a 2012 Campylobacter food poisoning outbreak that sickened 6 people in Virginia, New Hampshire and New York. The Virginia Department of Health linked the outbreak to liver pate served at a Virginia restaurant when it found raw chicken livers at the restaurant tainted with Campylobacter bacteria, the genetically identical strain that had sickened the outbreak victims.

Given these outbreaks and a study that found 77% of chicken livers contaminated with Campylobacter, the Oregon Health Authority is warning consumers that chicken livers should be considered a risky food, unless cooked to 165º F. With pate, the chicken livers are mixed with a number of other ingredients and baked. An instant-read thermometer should be inserted into the pate to determine if the entire loaf has been cooked to this temperature.

If you have a recipe for chicken liver pate (pate de foie de volaille) that instructs to bake until the outside is brown and the inside is pink, lower the cooking temperature and cook for a longer period of time. The inside should not be pink.
Contact a Campylobacter Lawyer

Article that found 77% contamination: Noormohamed A, Fakhr MK, Incidence and antimicrobial resistance profiling of Campylobacter in retail chicken livers and gizzards. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 2012; 9: 617–624.

Foster Farms Plant Closed by USDA: Cockroaches Found, Says Salmonella Lawyer

Salmonella attorney Fred Pritzker is investigating a lawsuit against Foster Farms and others on behalf of a child severely sickened by Salmonella food poisoning. The child was one victim in the 2013 Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken. You can contact Fred for a free Salmonella case review by calling 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). 

Even with solid PFGE (DNA) evidence linking the chicken to the outbreak, Foster Farms did not issue a recall. But now the USDA has closed one Foster Farms chicken processing plant because of cockroaches. The processing plant it in Livingston, California.

The USDA letter to Foster Farms states that USDA is closing the plant as of February 8, 2013, for “egregious insanitary conditions”. According to the letter, inspectors found live cockroaches “in and around the processing areas, indicating that the firm failed to maintain an effective pest control program.

Cockroaches can transport Salmonella and other dangerous bacteria from one location to another in a processing plant. Cockroaches were also found at this Foster Farms plant by federal inspectors on September 14, 2013, November 4, 2013, December 28, 2013, and January 7, 2013. The USDA letter states that cockroaches were “observed and documented on multiple days (including on two consecutive days) in multiple locations within the establishment.”

Cockroach Salmonella Food PoisoningAlthough Foster Farms did not issue a recall of the chicken implicated in the 2013 Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak, Costco recalled rotisserie chicken processed by Foster Farms and sold to consumers at the Costco store located at 1600 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, California between September 11 and 23, 2013. This specific chicken product was implicated in the outbreak, but not responsible for all of the illnesses.

To date, about 40% of the people sickened in the outbreak have been hospitalized, which is a high percentage for Salmonella food poisoning. The reason for this is that some of the 7 Salmonella Heidelberg strains involved in the outbreak are antibiotic resistant. 

Attorney Fred Pritzker is working to change federal regulatory law that prevents the USDA from forcing a recall due to Salmonella contamination until many people have been sickened. More and more Salmonella strains are becoming antibiotic resistant, and chicken contaminated with these strains need to be recalled. Consumers should be able to buy and eat chicken with confidence, knowing the federal government is preventing the sale of poultry that can cause serious personal injury and wrongful death.

CDC Says Salmonella Food Poisoning in CA from Cashew Cheese

The CDC confirmed a link between 14 cases of Salmonella Stanley and raw cashew cheese produced by The Cultured Kitchen. The cashew cheese is a non-dairy product made from raw cashews and other ingredients. People in 3 states have been sickened in the outbreak: California (12), Nevada (1) and Wyoming (1).

In interviews with outbreak victims, health officials asked about foods consumed and other exposures during the week before becoming ill. Seven of 11 ill persons interviewed reported eating raw cashew cheese in the week before becoming ill. Some of them did not know what brand of raw cashew cheese they had eaten, but 6 reported that they had eaten The Cultured Kitchen brand raw cashew cheese or had purchased the cheese at a retail location that sold this brand.

To determine who was sickened in the outbreak, health officials analyzed the DNA "fingerprints" of Salmonella isolates found in victims' stools. The DNA graphic was obtained with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Salmonella Stanley patients sickened by bacteria with matching PFGE patterns were confirmed to be part of the outbreak.

In response to this outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning, The Cultured Kitchen recalled all flavors of its cashew cheese products with expiration dates on or before April 19, 2014. The products were sold in natural food stores throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada, and at farmers markets in Sacramento County. They were sold in eight-ounce plastic containers in the following flavors: Herb, smoked cheddar, pepper jack, habanero cilantro lime, basil pesto and white cheddar.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Outbreak in Davidson County, North Carolina, Sickens 2 Children

Attorney Fred Pritzker is providing free consultations to parents of children with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a rare and dangerous illness caused by an E. coli O157 infection. HUS patients often experience kidney failure. Fred is nationally recognized in this area and has spoken at Harvard Law School, Cornell University and other venues about food safety and litigation.

The Davidson County Department of Health is investigating 2 cases of HUS, both students of Tyro Middle School, located near Lexington, North Carolina. Another child contracted an E. coli infection but did not develop HUS. That child does not attend Tyro Middle School.

The source of the outbreak is unknown, but most HUS cases are caused by food or water contaminated with E. coli bacteria or by animal contact. 

“E. coli outbreaks can often be prevented with good sanitation and adequate testing," said attorney Pritzker. "Finding the source of the E. coli bacteria associated with the HUS is important, both to prevent further illness and to give parents and victims the opportunity to hold wrongdoers accountable."

Tyro Middle School has information about the E. coli-HUS outbreak on its website. Parents should be aware of E. coli poisoning symptoms, which can include bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps. The CDC recommends not giving children with E. coli infections antibiotics because they may cause HUS.

Salmonella Blood Infections from Chicken Prompt Lawsuit Investigation

Dozens of people developed blood infections and sepsis from Salmonella food poisoning after eating tainted chicken. The CDC found 7 strains of Salmonella Heidelberg in people sickened in the multistate outbreak linked to chicken processed by Foster Farms and sold by retailers, including Costco and Kroger. Some of these strains are antibiotic resistant and multi-drug resistent, which is why the number of blood infections (bacteremia) sepsis is so high.

Bacteremia is bacteria in the blood. This develops into sepsis (septicemia) when the bacterial infection travels in the bloodstream to other parts of the body, causing additional infection. The affected areas can include the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, eyes, joints and any other tissue. Sepsis is often fatal.

In this outbreak, drug-resistant Salmonella colonized in the victims' gastrointestinal tract, causing gastroenteritis (severe cramping, diarrhea and vomiting). In some of the victims, the bacteria then invaded the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body. 

 

To date, over 400 people in 23 states have been sickened:

Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (18), California (310), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Idaho (4), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (10), Utah (2), Virginia (3), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (1).

Over 130 of these people were hospitalized, and many of them quickly developed sepsis.

“This outbreak is one of the most serious this year because it involves antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strains,” said attorney Fred Pritzker, who has won millions for clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against food processors, grocery stores, restaurants and others who sell tainted food.

Fred and his Bad Bug Law Team are investigating this outbreak. You can contact them for a free Salmonella case review here.

The CDC has found 4 Salmonella Heidelberg isolates in outbreak victims with sepsis resistant to combinations of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline. This chicken should never have been sold, and it is unacceptable that Foster Farms and the large retailers involved failed to protect consumers from these dangerous pathogens.

Legionella Pneumonia at Waco VA Medical Center, Lawyers Investigate

Water in at least 3 buildings at the Waco VA Medical Center has tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia. Legionella can colonize in cooling towers, pools, hot tubs, fountains and other water sources. People can contract Legionnaires' disease if they breathe in water mist contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Legionnaire's is often fatal.

The Waco VA buildings were tested after one patient was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease (Legionella pneumonia).  The patient has recovered, according to a VA spokesperson.

The VA has notified other Waco VA patients of the ill patient and the finding of Legionella at the complex. Patients and their families can contact attorney Fred Pritzker if they have questions.

Last year a 2-year-long Legionnaire' disease outbreak at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System was uncovered. Over 20 people were sickened (patients and visitors). Five veterans died. 

Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman investigate Legionnaires' disease claims. You can contact them for a free consultation at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) and find out if you can sue the VA Medical Center.

E. coli Outbreak Linked to Glass Onion Catering Salads

The CDC has issued its final update on the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Glass Onion Catering salads sold at Trader Joe's. Two salads were implicated in the outbreak: Trader Joe's Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Trader Jose's Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken.

As of today, there are 33 confirmed cases of E. coli food poisoning linked to the salads. Most of the people sickened live in California. There were also 3 illnesses in Washington, one in Arizona and one in Texas.

Trader Joes Salad E coli and HUS LawsuitPeople from age 2 to age 78 were sickened. Seven of them were hospitalized, and 2 of those developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a disease caused by the toxins released by E. coli bacteria. HUS causes acute kidney failure, which in turn can cause other health problems.

Interviews with the people sickened in the outbreak (and the parents of the children sickened) revealed a connection between Trader Joe's and the illnesses. Most of the people sickened shopped at Trader Joe's, and many of them reported eating a ready-to-eat salad from the store. Two salads were most often mentioned: Trader Joe's Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Trader Jose's Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken. Although these salads were sold Trader Joe's brands, they were processed and packaged by Glass Onion Catering, a Redmond, CA, company.

Investigators used DNA "fingerprints" of E. coli bacteria obtained with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to identify E. coli illnesses that were part of this outbreak. People who were sickened by E. coli bacteria with matching PFGE patterns were considered part of the outbreak, and therefore sickened by the same food source.

The CDC and state health officials are still doing traceback investigations to try find out which ingredient in the salad was initially contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Lettuce is the prime suspect.

On November 10, 2013, Glass Onion Catering recalled about 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products that were produced between September 23, 2013 and November 6, 2013, with the establishment number "P-34221" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Elliot Olsen are available for a free consultation regarding a lawsuit against Glass Onion Catering for compensation, including medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, lost income and other damages.