October 22, 2019

Wolverine E. coli Lawsuit Filed in Hamburger Outbreak

An E. coli lawsuit has been filed in the Wolverine hamburger outbreak that struck restaurant-goers in Michigan and Ohio before investigators traced it to batches of ground beef supplied by Wolverine Packing Company of Michigan.

The litigation claims made in Kalamzoo County Circuit Court relate to a young Michigan woman who was one of several people hospitalized in April and May 2014. “Epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicated that contaminated ground beef produced by Wolverine was the likely source of this outbreak,” said the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Wolverine-E.-coli-LawsuitAdditional confirmation of the outbreak came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after the agency interviewed suspected victims and confirmed a dozen case patients, including five in Ohio and five in Michigan. The CDC announced on June 20 that the outbreak appeared to be over, but the window for injured consumers to contact a lawyer and seek compensation is still open and more lawsuits could be filed.

The government investigation was highlighted by a Class I recall of 1.8 million pounds of Wolverine ground beef on May 19. The product was sent in April to distribution centers nationwide. Restaurants were prime users of the product, but it also was sold in a limited number of grocery stores and markets. In interviews with health investigators, 11 of the 12 case patients in this outbreak stated they ate ground beef prepared as a hamburger served at a restaurant before becoming ill.

Illness onset dates ranged from April 22 to May 2. The worst type of E. coli, known as E. coli O157:H7, is the pathogen associated with this outbreak. It causes bloody diarrhea and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. E. coli O157:H7 makes a toxin called Shiga toxin that attacks and fragments red blood cells. One severe complication associated with E. coli infection is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can require intensive care, kidney dialysis and blood transfusions.

No cases of HUS were associated with this outbreak, CDC reported, but studies have shown that even standard  infections of E. coli O157:H7 can cause long-term health consequences that need to be monitored by your physician. Those medical conditions and expenses are projected and accounted for in E. coli lawsuit claims.

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