May 24, 2024

E. coli O157 Outbreak Associated with Raw Milk in Knox County, TN; Several Attended A Kids Place; Lawsuits Possible

The Knox County Health Department is still investigating a cluster of E. coli O157 cases in children that are “likely associated” with consumption of raw milk and contact with farm animals. More than 10 illnesses have been reported to the KCHD. All are among children.

Raw Milk E. coli O157 outbreak

One new development is that several of those sick children attended A Kids Place, a childcare facility in Mascot, Tennessee. Last week a report was received telling officials about that illness. KCHD reviewed the case lab report.

The news update states, “Several other cases reported attending A Kids Place, Inc. During the investigation, exposure to ruminant farm animals was identified as a potential source of infection. All cases were among an age group that was housed in one portion of the facility. That portion is not operating. And, by taking infection control steps, the imminent health threat has been mitigated. Environmental samples from the facility and animals have been collected for testing. The timeline for results is unknown. Any further action regarding the operation of the facility will be determined by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, as the facility’s regulatory authority.”

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented clients sickened with E. coli infections and HUS, said, “Even when your child recovers from this infection, there is still a risk they will develop a serious complication in the future.” Call 1-888-377-8900.

Food safety expert and attorney Fred Pritzker said, “Ruminant animals can carry E. coli bacteria in their intestines. The bacteria does not make the animals sick. But the cows, goats, and sheep can shed the bacteria in their feces. The bacteria can then get into milk, onto the animal’s hides and coats, and onto objects in the environment, including railings, bedding, walls, and floors. There have been many E. coli O157 outbreaks in the past few years linked to raw milk consumption and contact with these types of animals.”

Most of those sickened reported consign raw milk from French Broad Farm in Knox County. KCHD is advising the public not to consume raw ilk or any other unpasteurized product m=from this farm. The farm is not distributing milk. Officials have collected environmental samples, milk, and manure for testing.

In a previous news release, officials said that four of the ten children are hospitalized in intensive care with kidney failure, which is common with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. HUS is a complication of this infection that damages the kidneys.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and watery. The symptoms of HUS include little urine output, lethargy, pale skin, and easy bruising. Both of these conditions can be life-threatening, so anyone suffering from these symptoms must see a doctor.




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