May 26, 2024

E. coli Outbreak After Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, CO

At least eight people are sick with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections after visiting the Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, Colorado, according to a news release by Mesa County Public Health. The fair was held from July 25 to July 29, 2017.

State Fair Fariswheel

This type of pathogenic bacteria is common in cattle, sheep, and goats, according to the press release. People can get sick when they come into contact with these animals, their bedding, fence railings, or anything in the surrounding environment. The animals shed E. coli in their feces, and it can get onto their coats or contaminate anything in the area.

Public health officials have also been in contact with child care providers and health care providers to try to determine the magnitude of the outbreak and prevent further illnesses. People usually get sick with E. coli infections between two to ten days after exposure. Since the fair was held more than 10 days ago, if you visited the fair and are not currently sick with the symptoms of an E. coli infection, it’s likely you won’t get sick.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented families of children sickened with E. coli – HUS infections, said, “No child should ever get sick because their families decided to go to a county fair.” Call 1-888-377-8900.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea that is bloody and watery, and a mild fever. Most people do visit a doctor when they contact this infection because the symptoms are so painful and scary.

Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said in a statement, “Outbreaks are always a possibility at fairs. We worked closely with Mesa County fair officials to put preventive measures in place prior to the start of the event. Otherwise, this could have been much worse.”

There have been many serious and deadly E. coli outbreaks linked to county and state fairs, petting zoos, and farm attractions in the past few years. An E. coli outbreak in Minnesota in 2014 sickened 13 people and was linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo. People were sickened at local fairs held in Rice County, Polk County, and Olmstead County that summer.

In October 2013, a child was sickened with an E. coli infection and developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after a visit to Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, Minnesota. At least six others were sickened in that outbreak, which was linked to a Halloween animal attraction at the farm. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team won $7.5 million for that child in a jury verdict last year.

And in one of the largest E. coli outbreaks in the U.S. linked to a fair, at least 106 people were sickened after visiting the Cleveland County fair in North Carolina in 2012. Sixty-four of those patients were children. Twelve children were hospitalized and one died.

There were no signs warning of the dangers of going into an animal barn and no hand washing stations at some of those past events. It’s also important that these facilities post signs telling people not to bring food or drink into the barns or the corrals.

To prevent E. coli infections, it’s critical that children are carefully watched at petting zoos and fairs. They shouldn’t put their hands in their mouths after touching the animals or fence railings. Wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after visiting these attractions. And wash your hands after going to the fair too, especially before preparing and feeding bottles or food to an infant or toddler.

Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully helps people hurt by adulterated foods and environmental hazards at events in outbreaks throughout the United States. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for foodborne illness patients and their families, including the largest verdict in American history for a person harmed by E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The firm also publishes the E-news site, Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected Google News source for food safety news and information. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN. The firm also represents people harmed by pathogenic microorganisms in Legionnaires‘ disease, surgical site infections, and product liability cases.

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