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The Mystery Ecoli O103 Outbreak Continues

Posted in E. coli,Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on April 7, 2019

Last week we brought you news of an Ecoli outbreak in Kentucky. At the time, about 20 people were diagnosed and being treated. Local health authorities were trying to get to the bottom of the source in order to combat the outbreak. Now, the CDC is involved and the numbers have skyrocketed and states have been added during the past week in the Ecoli O103 Outbreak.

As of April 4th, 72 people from multiple states have been diagnosed with E. coli and the numbers seem to be growing. While the CDC combined with local health authorities scramble to find the source of the bacteria, the public has been notified, warnings have been issued, and food safety is in the front of everyone’s thoughts. As this outbreak unfolds, stay here for further information; but, for now, let’s go over the facts, over what E. coli is, and over ways to keep safe.

Reports started rolling in around the end of March of people being ill. In the early hours, fingers were pointed as local health authorities noticed a trend: people were complaining of the same symptoms and possibly eating at the same restaurants. Now, a week later, there is little more information known than there was last week. That does not mean authorities are not working diligently, sometimes the culprit is just harder to track.

What started out as a localized incident now spans multiple states and counties throughout Kentucky. So far the numbers stand as follows:

  • Kentucky – 36
  • Georgia – 8
  • Ohio – 5
  • Tennessee – 21
  • Virginia – 2

Eight people have been hospitalized, and thankfully, no cases of HUS or deaths have been reported. The CDC has been narrowing down the possible sources of the outbreaks but nothing is definitive yet.

While the CDC has noted that there is no reason to avoid any particular food at this time, I believe there are still a few things we can do to keep ourselves and our families safe during times such as these.

Ecoli, a bacteria, lives all around us and even in us. I still marvel at that fact: something that has the ability to heal us in our everyday lives, when just a bit different, can hurt us. From the CDC, here are a few facts about E. coli:

  • People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) 2-8 days after swallowing the germ.
  • Some people with a STEC infection may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
  • coli infection is usually diagnosed by testing a stool sample.
  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing HUS, and a benefit of treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.
  • For more information, see Symptoms of E. Coli Infection.

One thing I will add here is: if you think you have any symptoms of Ecoli, get to a medical professional right away. The longer you wait, the more damage can be done to your body. Do not think it will just go away with rest and fluids, even though these are great treatments, you need to see a doctor.

I believe prevention is the biggest methods we have when it comes to battling infections. Properly safeguarding ourselves can keep us from getting ill. I focus a lot on hand washing because I believe that is where our first line of defense is. These few tips, when followed correctly, can greatly decrease bacteria or viruses from causing sickness:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and changing diapers.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing or eating food.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals or their environments.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing and feeding bottles or foods to an infant or toddler, before touching an infant or toddler’s mouth, and before touching pacifiers or other things that go into an infant or toddler’s mouth.

My wife and I have read and put to memory these practices with our new little girl at home. You are not only looking out for yourself, you are staying germ free for those around you too.

Along with hand washing, food preparation is the next line of defense in preventing germs from getting inside and wreaking havoc. By following four simple steps, not only will we enjoy our food more knowing it is free of contaminants but I have found it tastes better.

Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often. Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and can spread around your kitchen.

Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Every time you use a cutting board, knife, or cook with raw meats, clean surfaces keep germs from transferring from one place to another.

Cook: Knowing the right temperatures for the food you are preparing is an easy way to kill off bacteria and germs. The best way to know if your food is at the right temperature is a thermometer.

Chill: Leftovers need to be put in individual containers and refrigerated immediately to keep bacteria from growing. The reverse is also true: when thawing frozen food, keep it in the refrigerator until thawed.

Pro Tip: At the grocery store, keep raw meats, poultry, and sea food in separate bags. Cross-contamination can begin when you buy tonight’s dinner.

While the CDC tries to get to the bottom of this latest outbreak, this is a great time to get into the habit of good food safety practices. Having a danger fresh on our minds pushes us to do better at keeping our families safe and germ free. While I hope an end to this latest outbreak is found quickly, make sure to check back here at for the latest news.

Our Ecoli lawyer cautions any of our readers is in these areas, please pay special attention to what you eat and food preparation. Until we know more, it is a safe bet that eating at home, with foods you have carefully prepared yourself, is the best option.

Stay safe.

The Lange Law Firm 

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Ecoli food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm, PLLC is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.

If you were infected with Ecoli after eating fast food, and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663, or send us an e-mail here.

By: Dwight Spencer, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)