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Sacramento E. Coli Lawyer

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. While most strains of E. coli are harmless and are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract, some can cause illness.

Symptoms of E. coli

Escherichia coli (E. coli) infections can cause various symptoms, typically 3-4 days after exposure to the bacteria. The severity of symptoms can vary depending on the strain of E. coli and the individual’s health.

Common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea: Often watery, but can become bloody in severe cases.
  • Abdominal pain and cramping: Sharp and severe pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Common in many gastrointestinal infections.
  • Fatigue: Resulting from dehydration and nutrient loss.
  • Fever: Generally low-grade but can be present.
  • Loss of appetite: Due to gastrointestinal discomfort.

In severe cases, such as those caused by E. coli O157, people may also develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure. Symptoms of HUS include decreased urine output, pale skin, and easy bruising.

Transmission of E. coli

E. coli is transmitted primarily through the fecal-oral route. Common modes of transmission include:

  • Contaminated food:
    • Undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk, and juice.
    • Raw vegetables and fruits that have been in contact with contaminated water.
  • Contaminated water:
    • Drinking or swimming in water contaminated with feces.
  • Person-to-person contact:
    • Especially in settings like daycare centers where hygiene practices might be inadequate.
  • Animal contact:
    • Direct contact with animals or their environment, especially in petting zoos or farms.
  • Improper food handling:
    • Cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods.

Prevention of E. coli Infections

Preventing E. coli infections involves several practices to reduce the risk of exposure to the bacteria:

  • Proper food handling and cooking:
    • Cook meat, especially ground beef, to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C).
    • Avoid consuming raw milk and products made from unpasteurized milk.
    • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
    • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Good hygiene practices:
    • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
    • Ensure children wash their hands properly, especially in group settings like daycare.
  • Safe water practices:
    • Drink water from safe, treated sources.
    • Avoid swallowing water when swimming in lakes, ponds, or pools that might be contaminated.
  • Animal contact:
    • Wash hands after contact with animals or their environments.
    • Supervise young children closely in petting zoos or farms to prevent hand-to-mouth contact.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen:
    • Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards thoroughly after contact with raw meat.

Following these preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of E. coli infection.

Definition of an E. coli Outbreak

On average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 15 to 30 significant E. coli outbreaks annually. These outbreaks can vary widely in scale, from small clusters of infections to large multistate events.

An outbreak typically involves multiple cases of E. coli infections that can be epidemiologically linked to a common source or cause.

  • Common Source or Cause: The cases are usually linked to a common source of contamination, such as a specific food product, water supply, restaurant, or event.
  • Temporal and Geographic Clustering: The cases occur within a specific time frame and geographic area that is not consistent with the usual incidence of E. coli infections in that region.
  • Epidemiological Investigation: Health authorities conduct investigations to identify the source of the outbreak, often involving laboratory testing to confirm the presence of the same strain of E. coli in affected individuals.

Sacramento E. coli Statistics

In Sacramento County, the number of E. coli cases increased each year between 2013 and 2015. However, in 2016, the number of cases decreased by 27.7%. The following year, the number of cases began to rise again, with Sacramento County reporting a 111.4% increase by 2018. After a dip in cases during 2020, there was a 37.9% increase in 2021 and a further 15.1% increase in 2022.

Between 2013 and 2019, four Californian counties had at least one Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) case per year: Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, and San Diego.

Most recently, California has been affected by two multistate E. coli outbreaks linked to organic walnuts and raw cheddar cheese.

Call Us Today

Call The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or message us online now for a free consultation regarding your E. coli case. Our experienced team will investigate, identify those responsible, and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.