May 28, 2024

Deadly E. coli Outbreak in Utah/Arizona Has Sickened 12 People

The E. coli outbreak in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona has now sickened 12 people, according to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. David Heaton, Health Department spokesman, commented on the press release page, saying “Advisory is cautionary action as investigation includes focus on food contamination and animal exposure risk. Individual case information is not being released other than to confirm that most are children.”

E coli bacteria

The source of the outbreak has still not been identified. We do know that two children have died in this outbreak. News reports before this update say that four patients have developed HUS and that seven have been hospitalized, but the health department has not confirmed these numbers. HUS is a complication of an E. coli infection that destroys the kidneys.

The department continues to warn residents to help prevent the spread of this outbreak. Officials first suspected the water supply, but those tests were negative. They then said to avoid drinking raw milk and eating ground beef.

Advice from the department is to wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after eating,  preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom and changing diapers, after contact with animals or any environment that may be exposed to animal feces, and before touching anything that enters a baby’s mouth. Also wash your hands well after caring for a sick person, especially if they have a diarrheal illness.

Also, avoid cross contamination by not allowing raw food to touch cooked food. And thoroughly clean all surfaces and objects that have come into contact with raw meat.

All meats should be cooked thoroughly and tested with a reliable food thermometer. Ground meat should be cooked to 160°F, always. Avoid raw milk and raw dairy products and unpasteurized juices.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe abdominal and stomach cramps and pains, diarrhea that is usually bloody or watery, and a mild fever. Symptoms usually appear a few days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Most people do require medical treatment for this illness.

Treatment with antibiotics is not recommended for E. coli infections, since that can increase the risk of developing HUS. The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy brushing, lethargy, pale skin, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should be taken to a doctor immediately.

Pritzker Hageman law firm is a national company that helps those  sickened by contaminated food get answers, compensation, and justice. Our attorneys represent patients and families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against grocery stores, daycare centers, food producers and processors, restaurants, and retailers. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for a young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome as a result of an E. coli infection. It’s important to remember that class action lawsuits may not be appropriate for outbreak victims because each case is so unique.

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