July 22, 2019

Minnesota E. coli Investigators Solve Two Outbreaks In One Month

Minnesota epidemiologists have solved a pair of unrelated E. coli outbreaks in the span of a month, first linking Applebees restaurants in the state to infections of E. coli O111 and then proving that a traveling petting zoo put seven people in the hospital. The agency responsible for the disease sleuthing is the Minnesota Department of Health.

“Without a doubt the Minnesota Department of Health stopped these outbreaks before other people could become infected,” Minneapolis-based E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker said. “They provide an invaluable public service.”

2014-Minnesota-E.-coli-LawyIn the most recent outbreak, Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo withheld its animals from the last two county fairs at which it was scheduled to exhibit in August, according to a health department news release. The Minnesota petting zoo was implicated in early August in the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses of 13 people, including seven who were hospitalized. Two of the most severely injured fought kidney failure and other health deficits caused by a complication of toxic E. coli infection known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.

According to public records, the E. coli outbreak started early in July at an annual 4th of July festival in Nashwauk, Minnesota. The zoo made its next stops at the Polk County Fair, Rice County Fair in Faribault and Olmsted County Fair in Rochester. The Health Department recognized the pattern of illnesses and used genetic fingerprinting techniques to identify E. coli O157:H7 in fecal samples and environmental swabs from Zerebko Zoo Tran. The prints perfectly matched the type of E. coli that had made so many people sick, including at least one child who was only 2 years old.

“These illnesses are a stark reminder that E. coli O157:H7 can be present in even the cleanest of animal operations,” said Minnesota State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Joni Scheftel.

Contact an E coli Lawyer - Free Case EvaluationThe petting zoo E. coli outbreak was announced just one month after health department employees traced an outbreak of E. coli O111 to nine Applebees locations across the state. The Minnesota operator of Applebees temporarily withdrew Oriental Chicken Salad from its menus and switched suppliers of certain ingredients as a result of the probe. Within days of the public disclosure, the Pritzker law firm filed a Minnesota E. coli lawsuit on behalf of a young man who fell sick with a painful E. coli infection after eating Oriental Chicken Salad at the Applebees in Woodbury, Minnesota. It was the first lawsuit in the outbreak and it is being litigated in United States District Count. The law firm is continuing to sign up additional clients who were case patients in the outbreak.

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