E. Coli O157:H7
Although most people are familiar with the term E. coli, few are aware that there are actually a number of different strains of this type of bacteria. For instance, E. coli O157:H7 was first identified in 1982 and has contributed to the illnesses of thousands of people in the intervening decades. This strain of the bacteria, unlike many others, is extremely harmful to humans and is usually transmitted through contact with contaminated water or food. If you were diagnosed with E. coli and have evidence that you were infected after coming into contact with food from a certain restaurant or grocer, you could be eligible for compensation. To learn more, please contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.
E. Coli Basics
Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals. Most are harmless and actually play an important role in maintaining a healthy intestinal tract. However, there are some strains of the bacteria that are pathogenic and can cause illness by creating a toxin known as the Shiga toxin. The most common form of this bacteria is E. coli O157:H7.
Sources of Infection
E. coli O157:H7 is contracted through the ingestion of food or drink that has been contaminated with feces that contains the bacteria. Most dangerous form can be found in foods of bovine origin, such as unpasteurized milk and cheeses made from raw milk. However, this bacteria has also been found in water, unpasteurized apple cider, undercooked hamburger meat, and lettuce. Recent outbreaks have also been linked to contaminated clover, alfalfa, radish sprouts, and spinach, as well as yogurt, dried salami, game meats, raw cookie dough, hazelnuts, and mayonnaise. Some people have even been infected after accidentally swallowing lake water or eating any type of food that was prepared by someone who was infected with E. coli and did not wash his or her hands.
Researchers estimate that around 265,000 people suffer from E. coli infections on a yearly basis in the U.S., around 36% of whom are infected with E. coli O157:H7. However, these estimates only take into account those who seek medical help and are officially diagnosed. Thousands more suffer from symptoms, but do not go to the doctor or fail to provide a stool specimen for testing.
Although the symptoms can vary depending on the person, most who are diagnosed with this illness can expect to suffer from severe stomach cramps, vomiting, mild fever, and diarrhea within three to four days after ingesting the bacteria. Symptoms may begin slowly, but often worsen over the first several days. Fortunately, most make a full recovery within five to seven days, although especially virulent infections could result in kidney failure. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that antibiotics can help treat E. coli, so those experiencing this illness must usually suffer through the worst of the symptoms while focusing on rest and hydration.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
If you were diagnosed with E. coli O157:H7 and have evidence that the bacteria came from a specific food source, please contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543 to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your legal options.