According to the Centers for Disease Control, e. coli causes over 2,000 hospitalizations each year in the US. E. coli bacteria can cause serious illness that can sometimes be fatal. Many E. coli victims often develop serious hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can result in kidney failure, central nervous system damage, and is often fatal.
E. coli outbreaks are frequently traced to food served in restaurants and food trucks and/or food sold in grocery stores. Well-known e. coli outbreaks in Washington State have involved hamburgers, spinach, raw milk, water, and prepared foods.
E. coli patients are the victims of poor and/or negligent food safety practices. E. Coli victims and their families are entitled to compensation for injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
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The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. This law aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. The FSMA has given the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new authorities to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed.
E. coli Outbreaks in King County Washington
Each year in Washington State between 150 and 250 E. coli cases are reported, with most cases occurring in the fall and summer. In 2014 there were 74 confirmed and 14 probable cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in King County Washington. This is the highest number of cases reported in the past ten years.
In June of that year 12 confirmed and 13 epidemiologically linked cases were related to an outbreak of E. coli O26 at a child care center. Public Health worked with the child care to strengthen hygiene practices and control the spread of infection.
In 2014, in King County 13 of the e. coli patients (15%) required hospitalization. There were no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), damage to the kidneys that can result from STEC infections. On average, King County receives zero to one report of HUS per year.
That same year, the city of Mercer Island issued two boil water advisories in September and October, after Seattle Public Utilities detected the presence of E. coli during routing water sampling. Although Public Health conducted enhanced surveillance, no cases of E. coli from this exposure were identified.
What is E. coli?
E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines and in the intestines of animals. Although most types of E. coli are harmless, some types can make you sick.
The worst type of E. coli, known as E. coli O157:H7, causes bloody diarrhea and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. E. coli O157:H7 makes a toxin called Shiga toxin and is known as a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). There are many other types of STEC, and some can make you just as sick as E. coli O157:H7.
One severe complication associated with E. coli infection is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The infection produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells, causing kidney injury. HUS can require intensive care, kidney dialysis, and transfusions.
What is Listeria?
Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats. Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella, the name of a group of bacteria, is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Usually, symptoms last 4-7 days and most people get better without treatment. But, Salmonella can cause more serious illness in older adults, infants, and persons with chronic diseases. Salmonella is killed by cooking and pasteurization.
- King County Public Health (Ed.). (n.d.). Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) including E. coli O157:H7. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
- "E. Coli Information." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
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- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. "E. Coli." E. Coli. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
- .U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. "Listeria." Listeria. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
- "U.S. Food and Drug Administration." FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
- "Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)." Full Text of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
- "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 3 Sept. 201