May 26, 2024

E. coli Outbreak Associated with Raw Milk and Farm Animals in TN Updated; Lawsuits May Be Filed

The E. coli O157 outbreak associated with raw milk and contact with farm animals in Tennessee has been updated by the Knox County Health Department. Public health officials are investigating any potential connections between these two likely sources, and it is possible that there are two unrelated E. coli clusters. At least ten children have been sickened in this outbreak.

Raw milk E. coli O157 Outbreak Tennessee

The health department is conducting extensive interviews with the families of the ill children. They are also contacting people who may be at risk to see if anyone in that household is ill, examining all potential sources; plotting symptom onset to aid in determining the first case in this outbreak, potential exposures and the type of outbreak; analyzing the statistical significance of the findings; and collecting environmental samples from both sites.

The samples taken from the farm, French Broad Farm in Knox County, and the child care facility, Kids Place, Inc. in Mascot, Tennessee, are being analyzed. They are looking for the exact genetic fingerprint of the E. coli O157 strain.

Kids Place and French Broad Farm have been cooperating with officials and have shared contact information and supported sample collection.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

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

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened with E. coli infections after consuming raw milk, said, “It is tragic when small children are sickened with a serious and potentially life-threatening illness because they drank raw milk. They are suffering and their families are suffering. We hope that all of these children recover fully.”

KCHD is lifting the health directive asking that the farm temporarily cease operations. But, officials stress that the risk in consuming raw milk “cannot be mitigated. Even with safety precautions in place at a dairy and adherence to the strictest dairying procedures, there is no way to ensure raw milk, while legal, is safe for consumption. This is why health officials recommend the public consume only pasteurized milk and dairy products.”

KCHD lifted the directive for Kids Place on Friday, June 8, 2018. Officials say that the risk there has been mitigated.

News reports are stating that a seventh child has been admitted to Children’s Hospital after testing positive for E. coli. One of the two children in the pediatric intensive care unit was allowed to leave the PICU, but is still in the hospital. The other child is still in serious condition. It is likely that these children have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that is bloody or watery, lethargy, and severe stomach and abdominal cramps. Anyone who is experiencing those symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.

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