July 17, 2024

Agencies Added to Deadly Utah-Arizona E. coli Outbreak

The investigation into the deadly E. coli outbreak at the border of Utah and Arizona has been joined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Utah Department of Health, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Utah Department of Health, according to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. The confirmed case count stands at 11.

E. coli bacteria 2

Two children have died after being infected with E. coli bacteria. The source of the outbreak hasn’t been identified, but warnings have been issued by various health departments against consuming raw milk and previously purchased ground beef. This most recent update also warned people that the illness can be spread person-to-person.

The cities involved in this outbreak are Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. This is a remote area in the mountains. It was first occupied by polygamists.

News reports state that four children have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Two of those children have died. And seven patients have been hospitalized because they are so sick.

The area of investigation has expanded from the place where the first patients were living. Centennial Park, Arizona is now included in the outbreak area.

At first, officials were looking at the water as a possible source for E. coli bacteria, but it tested negative. Then, warnings about drinking raw milk and eating ground beef were issued. With the feds joining in the investigation, officials are now interviewing patients and talking to the parents of the sick children.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is keeping residents updated via Facebook. They are asking people who are parents or primary caregiver from those communities who has not had diarrhea since June 1, 2017 to take a survey. This information may help pinpoint what has made people sick and stop the outbreak.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe and painful abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is usually bloody or watery, and a mild fever. The symptoms usually require medical care with this type of infection.

Past E. coli outbreaks have been linked to contaminated ground beef, raw milk, and even contaminated produce. Cross-contamination between those products and other foods that are eaten uncooked can also cause illness.

Public health officials are asking that everyone follow food safety practices to hep contain this outbreak. Always wash your hands well with warm water and soap after you use the bathroom, taking care of someone who is sick, or changing diapers. Wash your hands before preparing or serving food, and before you eat. This is especially important to prevent person-to-person spread. Cook meats, especially ground meats, thoroughly to at least 160°F as tested with a food thermometer. The announcement from the health department also warns people to not swallow water when swimming.

The noted law firm Pritzker Hageman helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food protect their legal rights and get answers and compensation. Our lawyers help patients and families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against schools, retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won $7.5 million for a young client whose kidneys failed because he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after an E. coli infection. You should know that class action lawsuits may not be appropriate for outbreak victims because each individual case is different.

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