Although many parasites, bacteria, and viruses can cause foodborne illnesses, one of the most dangerous is Campylobacter, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), causes around 1.3 million illnesses ever year in the U.S. Most people contract Campylobacter after eating raw or undercooked poultry, although it is possible to become infected after eating any food or beverage that came into contact with a contaminated product. Becoming infected with Campylobacter can lead to hospitalization, so if you were infected after eating contaminated food that you purchased at a store or restaurant, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.
While most people become infected with Campylobacter after eating undercooked poultry, it is also possible to become infected after drinking contaminated water, coming into contact with infected animals, or drinking unpasteurized milk. Even foods like fruits and vegetables can become contaminated if they come into contact with soil containing feces from infected animals.
After ingestion, those who are infected can expect to suffer from diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, in addition to vomiting or nausea. In most cases, these symptoms begin manifesting with two to five days of exposure and last for about a week. In people with weakened immune systems, including those with certain blood disorders like AIDS or hypogammaglobulinemia, Campylobacter can actually spread to the bloodstream, causing a life-threatening infection.
People suffering from these illnesses or who are undergoing chemotherapy who begin experiencing food poisoning symptoms should immediately seek medical attention, as they will most likely require a course of antibiotics. Otherwise, those who are infected are usually able to recover without specific treatment, although patients are strongly encouraged to drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration.
Food that is contaminated by Campylobacter is considered defective, which means that injured parties who become ill after consumption or coming into contact with the product may be able to hold the company or restaurant that produced or sold the contaminated food responsible for their negligence. However, before an infected person can recover damages, he or she will need to prove that the defendant not only sold or produced the contaminated product, but also that:
- The defendant caused the contamination or failed to prevent it;
- The plaintiff consumed the contaminated food and suffered an illness as a result; and
- The plaintiff was diagnosed with food poisoning based on the ingestion of a contaminated product.
Because Campylobacter can take a few days to manifest, this can be a difficult task for infected parties who will need to provide proof of a diagnosis, as well as proof that the infection came from the defendant’s product. In most cases, this task is easier if a number of people became ill after eating products from the same manufacturer, restaurant, food processor, or store, although it is not impossible for those suffering from an isolated instance of contamination to recover damages.
The Legal Representation You Deserve
To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your own foodborne illness, please call Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.