May 29, 2024

E. coli O157 Outbreak HUS in Tennessee Associated with Raw Milk, Animals at French Broad Farm in Knoxville; Lawsuits May Be Filed

An E. coli O157 outbreak in the Knoxville, Tennessee area has sickened several children and has hospitalized four. Most of the children are “known to have consumed raw milk from a local cow-share dairy,” according to a media release issued by the Knox County Health Department (KCHD).┬áBecause of this outbreak, KCHD is advising the public not to consume any raw milk or any other unpasteurized products from French Broad Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee at this time.

E. coli O157 Outbreak HUS Tennessee

Public health officials are also recommending that consumers discard all raw milk and any unpasteurized products they may have purchased from this farm. It’s a good idea to clean your fridge well with a mild bleach solution after you discard the raw milk.

The farm is not currently operating, so any further exposure to farm animals is not in the picture. Ruminant animals, such as cows and goats, can carry Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in their intestines. The pathogenic bacteria does not affect those animals, but they can shed the germs in feces, where it can contaminate milk and get onto their skin, bedding, and other items in their living areas.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker, a food safety expert, said, “Even when your child recovers from this infection, there is still a risk they will develop a serious health complication in the future.”┬áCall 1-888-377-8900 for help.

E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker who has represented many clients, including the families of children, who have been sickened with this infection, said, “We have seen so many cases of children who get so sick from these infections after they have consumed raw milk. If improperly treated with antibiotics, this infection can develop into HUS, which can be life-threatening. Please keep an eye on your kids if you live in this area. If they do start experiencing diarrhea, let your doctor know immediately.”

KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan said, “Bacteria, like E. coli, cannot be seen with naked eye. For some perspective, roughly 1,800 can fit on the head of a pin, and it only takes about 10 to make you sick.” All of the confirmed cases in this E. coli O157 outbreak are caused by the same serotype of E. coli bacteria.

A press conference was held today for local media at Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Dr. Joe Childs said that four children are hospitalized in serious condition with kidney failure. With E. coli O157 infections, kidney failure is caused by hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of that illness that can also cause strokes and seizures.

Sales of raw milk in Tennessee are allowed through cow share programs. That means consumers buy a “share” of a cow and receive the dairy products that cow produces. Raw milk is not sold in grocery stores in that state. Most of the children who are ill drank that raw milk, and some did have contact with animals.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157 outbreak infection include severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, accompanied by watery and bloody diarrhea. The symptoms of HUS include little urine output, pale skin, and lethargy. This infection is serious and can be life-threatening. Children with HUS can need dialysis for years, and some may need kidney transplants. Anyone who lives in that area who is experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. And remember that this bacteria can be passed from person-to-person via the fecal-oral route; be particularly vigilant about washing your hands after using the bathroom and before preparing food.


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