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Austin E. Coli Lawyer

Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is a bacterium typically found in the intestines of humans and animals. While most strains are harmless and beneficial for gut health, some can cause serious food poisoning. Pathogenic strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, are known to cause severe gastrointestinal issues, including abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Infection usually occurs through the consumption of contaminated food or water, making it essential to practice good hygiene and food safety to prevent outbreaks.

Symptoms of E. coli

Symptoms that might develop if someone has E. coli poisoning include severe stomach cramps and pain, frequent diarrhea that may become bloody, and nausea and vomiting. A low-grade fever might also occur. These symptoms typically appear a few days after exposure to the bacteria and can cause significant discomfort and dehydration, necessitating medical attention.

How Does E. coli Spread?

  1. coli outbreaks can spread for several reasons, primarily related to contamination and poor hygiene practices. Here are some key factors:
  • Contaminated Food: E. coli can contaminate various types of food, particularly raw or undercooked meat (especially ground beef), unpasteurized milk and dairy products, raw fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurized juices.
  • Improper Food Handling: Poor food handling practices, such as not washing hands before handling food, cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, and inadequate cleaning of food preparation surfaces, can spread E. coli.
  • Contaminated Water: Drinking or using contaminated water for cooking or washing food can introduce E. coli. This includes untreated water from wells, lakes, or streams.
  • Inadequate Cooking: Failing to cook food to the appropriate temperature can allow E. coli to survive and cause infection. For example, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C).
  • Person-to-Person Contact: E. coli can spread through direct contact with an infected person, especially if proper hygiene practices, like handwashing after using the bathroom or changing diapers, are not followed.

Preventing E. coli Infections

You can take steps to reduce the risk of E. coli infection, including:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water: Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom, handling raw meat, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw and cooked items: Avoid cross-contamination by using different cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods. Clean cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use.
  • Store food properly: Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your refrigerator, and store perishable items at or below 40°F (4°C) to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Rinse all produce thoroughly: Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking them to remove any bacteria on the surface.
  • Regularly clean and sanitize kitchen surfaces: Use hot, soapy water or a disinfectant to clean countertops, cutting boards, and utensils after preparing food, especially raw meat, to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Practice good pet hygiene: Wash your hands after handling pets or cleaning up after them, as animals can carry E. coli bacteria. Teach children to do the same.
  • Drink treated and safe water: Consume water from safe, treated sources to avoid exposure to bacteria. Avoid drinking untreated water from lakes, rivers, or streams.
  • Cook meat to safe internal temperatures: Ensure that meats, especially ground beef, are cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C) to kill any E. coli bacteria present.
  • Don’t prepare food when you are ill: If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, particularly gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, refrain from handling or preparing food to prevent spreading bacteria to others.
  • Avoid consuming unpasteurized dairy products: Unpasteurized milk, cheese, and other dairy products can contain harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Choose pasteurized products to reduce the risk of infection.

Statistics on E. coli Cases in Austin

Between 2015 and 2018, the incidence rate of E. coli outbreaks in Travis County increased yearly. The incidence rates for Texas as a whole were 2.2 per 100,000 people in 2015 and 4.7 per 100,000 people in 2018.

2015 2016 2017 2018
Cases Rate Cases Rate Cases Rate Cases Rate
10 0.8 19 1.6 37 3.1 57 4.6

Throughout 2018 in Texas, the 1-4 age group had the most E. coli illnesses, with 336 children affected, followed by 60+ with 263 and children under 1 with 119.

More recently, E. coli outbreaks in Texas have been linked to Raw Cheddar CheeseLeafy Greens, and Clover Sprouts.

Get In Touch

If E. coli has affected you or your loved ones, call The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or message us online today for a free consultation. Our experienced legal team is here to help you navigate the complexities of your case, fight for your rights, and seek the compensation you deserve.

Jory Lange: Experienced E. Coli Attorney

E. Coli Lawyer Jory Lange

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