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An outbreak of E. coli, which is believed to have started in early March, now includes 11 confirmed cases, including six children under the age of 10. The ongoing investigation by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has identified a likely link to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy. Seven people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak, and 3 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of E. coli infection. Here is what we know about this Yogurt E. coli Outbreak:
E. coli are a large, diverse group of bacteria found naturally in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals. Most strains of E. coli are not only harmless, but are actually an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some can make you sick, causing illnesses such as diarrhea, urinary tract infection, respiratory illness, pneumonia, and other illnesses.
Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high. Most people experience very mild infections that get better within 5 to 7 days. But others are severe or even life-threatening. Most people with an infection start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure. Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, bloody diarrhea, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.
Like those affected in the recent yogurt outbreak, about 5 to 10% of people who are diagnosed with an E. coli infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS develops about 7 days after symptoms first appear, when diarrhea is improving. Clues that someone is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some can suffer permanent damage or even die.
Pure Eire Dairy is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all affected products. Anyone who has PCC Community Market brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away. Additionally, DOH and partner agencies are continuing to test food samples and gather case information in this ongoing investigation, and DOH will provide more information as it becomes available.
How can you prevent infection?
The types of E. coli that can cause illness can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with contaminated animals or people. You can avoid getting sick by following these simple steps:
You can avoid yourself and your loved ones, especially your children, from getting sick with E. coli, as well as other food-borne illnesses, both by following the simple steps above and by paying attention to food safety recalls. However, nothing is guaranteed, and getting sick at some point is almost inevitable. If you or your loved one are experiencing symptoms of food poisoning, take care of yourselves! Drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, and monitor your symptoms. If you start to experience prolonged or more severe symptoms, or if you are a person at high risk for complications, contact your doctor or go to the hospital right away.
E. coli Lawyer
E. coli lawyer Jory Lange is one of the nation’s leading food poisoning lawyers. Mr. Lange has helped families from the Mid-Atlantic to the Midwest, from Florida to California, and in states across the nation.
If you or someone in your family tested positive for E. coli and you would like to know more about your legal rights, call (833) 330-3663 to get answers now.
By: Michelle Galadik