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San Antonio E. coli Attorney

Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, is a bacterium found in the intestines of humans and animals. Most strains of E. coli are benign and contribute to healthy digestion, but some can be harmful. Pathogenic strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, are associated with severe food borne illnesses, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. These infections are often transmitted through contaminated food or water, emphasizing the need for rigorous hygiene and food safety measures.

Symptoms of E. coli

Typical symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, which can be very painful and debilitating. Diarrhea, which may start as loose stools and progress to bloody stools, is common. Nausea and vomiting are also frequent symptoms. Occasionally, a low-grade fever accompanies these symptoms. The infection can cause significant discomfort and may require medical intervention, particularly if dehydration occurs.

In severe cases, E. coli infections can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. HUS is characterized by several severe symptoms, including:

  • Kidney Failure: This is one of the most critical aspects of HUS. The kidneys lose their ability to filter waste from the blood effectively, which can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body. In extreme cases, this condition can be life-threatening and may require dialysis, a medical procedure that performs the function of the kidneys by filtering and purifying the blood using a machine.
  • Anemia: HUS causes the destruction of red blood cells, a condition known as hemolysis. This destruction leads to a reduced number of red blood cells in the body, causing anemia. Symptoms of anemia can include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and shortness of breath. The lack of sufficient red blood cells means that the body’s tissues do not receive an adequate supply of oxygen, which is essential for normal function.
  • Low Platelet Count: HUS also leads to thrombocytopenia, a condition characterized by a low platelet count. Platelets are critical for blood clotting, and a deficiency can result in problems with clotting and an increased risk of excessive bleeding. Individuals with a low platelet count may experience easy bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts, spontaneous bleeding from the gums or nose, and the appearance of petechiae (small red or purple spots) on the skin.

Together, these symptoms make HUS a medical emergency that requires immediate attention and treatment to prevent serious health complications or death.

Causes of E. coli

E. coli infections are commonly caused by consuming or handling contaminated food and water. One of the primary sources is undercooked ground beef, as E. coli bacteria reside in the intestines of cattle and can contaminate meat during the slaughtering process. Similarly, unpasteurized milk and dairy products can carry E. coli from cows, while fresh produce like vegetables and fruits can become contaminated through soil, water, or handling. Unpasteurized juices are another potential source.

Contaminated water can also lead to infection, whether through drinking supplies tainted by sewage or animal waste or swimming in natural bodies of water exposed to fecal matter. Poor hygiene practices, such as inadequate handwashing after using the bathroom or changing diapers, facilitate person-to-person transmission. Direct contact with animals, especially in settings like petting zoos and farms where hygiene might be lax, can also result in E. coli infections. Preventive measures include proper food handling and cooking, good hygiene, safe water sources, and careful animal interaction.

Preventing E. coli Outbreaks

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

  • Avoiding preparing food when you are ill.
  • Avoiding consuming unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Cooking meat to safe internal temperatures.
  • Drinking treated and safe water.
  • Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Practicing good pet hygiene.
  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing kitchen surfaces.
  • Rinsing all produce thoroughly.
  • Storing food properly.
  • Using separate cutting boards for raw and cooked items.

San Antonio Statistics on E. coli

In Bexar County, the E. coli incidence rates per 100,000 people stayed relatively similar across 2017 (4.1), 2018 (4.6), and 2019 (4.6). However, by 2021, this rate had come down to 2.5.

Across Texas, between 2008 and 2019, children under 4 consistently had the highest incidence rates of E. col.

Texas was impacted by two multistate outbreaks in 2020: leafy greens and clover sprouts and, most recently in 2024, raw cheddar cheese.

Get In Touch

E. coli troubles? Call The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or message us online today to schedule your free consultation. We are committed to helping victims of E. coli contamination, offering compassionate legal support and relentless advocacy for your case.