October 20, 2019

Deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked to Romaine Reaches North Dakota; Lawyer Explains Why Outbreak May Grow

The deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak that is linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region has reached North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) issued a press release that states one person in that state is now part of this outbreak. That brings the number of states with outbreak case patients to 26.

E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Romaine Lettuce North Dakota

A second case in North Dakota may be associated with this outbreak; officials are still investigating. Nationally, more than 120 people are sick in this outbreak. At least 52 people have been hospitalized, and fourteen have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). One person, who lived in California, has died.

Officials did not say how old the patient from North Dakota is, or where he or she lived. The illness onset date was also not provided.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 612-338-0202 or 1-888-377-8900.

Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker, who is representing clients in this outbreak, said, “No one should get sick, hospitalized, or die just because they purchased lettuce at the grocery store.”

Laura Conquest, epidemiologist with the NDDoH said, “The FDA has stated they cannot be certain that romaine lettuce from the Yuma region is no longer in the supply chain due to the 21-day shelf life. Food service establishments and retailers should not sell or serve any romaine lettuce, including chopped, whole heads or hearts, that originate from Yuma, Arizona. Consumers should not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless they can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region.”

The press release also states basic food safety rules, such as cooking foods to the correct temperature, avoiding cross-contamination, using separate cutting boards for produce and raw meats, and washing your hands well with soap and water. It also states consumers should wash produce to “reduce the risk” of infection.

Unfortunately, washing produce will not remove all pathogenic bacteria that may be on the product. And produce, especially leafy greens, is the main food source of most foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection included bloody or watery diarrhea and painful stomach cramps. The symptoms of HUS, a serious complication of this infection, include lethargy, pallor, a skin rash, and more importantly, a reduction in urine output. Any person who is experiencing these symptoms must see a doctor, because the infection and complications can be life-threatening.

Pritzker Hageman law firm is a national company located in Minnesota that helps those sickened by contaminated food get justice and compensation. Our experienced 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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