August 17, 2019

Twenty Sick with E. coli O103 in Kentucky

The Kentucky Department of Public Health told the press on Friday, March 29, 2019, that twenty people in that state have tested positive for E. coli O103. This relatively rare strain of E. coli bacteria causes serious symptoms, just like the more common E. coli O157:H7 pathogen.

Twenty sick in Kentucky E. coli O103 Outbreak

The source of the outbreak hasn’t been identified, but yesterday officials said that the patients had “extensive fast food exposure.” That could mean that any chain restaurant could be involved in this outbreak.

Six people have been hospitalized because their illness is so critical. No official has said that anyone has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection (STEC). Since many of those sickened are children, according to yesterday’s news, some could have HUS, since the age group that usually develops that syndrome are children under the age of 5.

Public health officials have notified healthcare providers across the state about this outbreak, and have told them to test for E. coli O103 if a patient presents with diarrhea. Doctors do not usually test for this specific pathogen since it is so rare.

DPH Commissioner Dr. Jeff Howard said in a statement,”Exposure to E. coli bacteria can be debilitating and potentially life-threatening, especially for small children and individuals with weakened immune systems. With this in mind, the Department for Public Health has taken swift action to identify patients, ensure appropriate testing, and follow up care as we work to determine the source of the outbreak Healthcare providers across Kentucky have been alerted to this potential threat and are working with us to make sure patients are identified and are receiving appropriate care. Meanwhile, we encourage all Kentuckians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of E. coli illness and to seek care if they are ill.”

The symptoms of an E. coli O103 infection, and of any STEC infection,  include painful and severe stomach and abdominal cramps, and the characteristic bloody and watery diarrhea. Symptoms of HUS, which can begin a few days after the E. coli symptoms start, include little or no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, easy bruising, and a skin rash. Anyone in Kentucky with any of these symptoms should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Bad Bug Law Team | Pritzker Law Firm

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS and live in Kentucky, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900.

Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully helps and represents people hurt by adulterated foods 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. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal.

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