December 8, 2019

Wisconsin E. coli O157 HUS Outbreak Identified

An E. coli O157 outbreak has been identified in Wisconsin. The press release states, “Between November 13 and November 15, 2019, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) Communicable Diseases Epidemiology Section has observed a significant increase in the number of reported cases of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 infection. We are treating this as an outbreak. Cases have been reported from numerous jurisdictions within Wisconsin, and have not been isolated to a single region. One associated case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) has also been reported.”

E. coli O157 HUS Outbreak in Wisconsin Identified

Officials do not yet know what food may be the source of the pathogen, but we do know that three women from northwest Wisconsin were diagnosed with what appears to be an E. coli O157 infection; they ate “lots of salads” before they got sick.

The law firm of Pritzker Hageman is representing clients sickened in this outbreak. Food Poisoning Bulletin and Pritzker Law helped break this story on November 15, 2019 by reporting on a health alert posted on ProMED-mail, part of the International Society for Infectious Diseases which tracks illnesses and possible outbreaks around the world. That alert identified three women sick with possible E. coli symptoms.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact Minneapolis food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202. Fred and his team represent clients across the country.

Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “We are glad that an outbreak was declared. Hopefully officials can soon pinpoint the food or foods that may be linked to this outbreak so a recall can be issued or consumers can take action. An E. coli O157 infection can be serious and even deadly, especially if a patient developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.”

We don’t know exactly how many people have been sickened in this outbreak, but earlier reports were nine sick. The outbreak may spread to other states as the investigation continues. We also don’t know the age of the person who was diagnosed with HUS.

The rest of the press release deals with telling doctors and other healthcare providers to be on the lookout for people who are sick with the symptoms of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection. Those symptoms include gastroenteritis, bloody diarrhea, and severe and painful abdominal cramps.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is most common in children under the age of 5. About 15% of children that age who contact a STEC infection will develop HUS. Symptoms of that complication usually start 5 to 10 days after diarrhea onset, and include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin, fatigue, small bruises, bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination.

If you or anyone you know has been experiencing these symptoms, whether or not they ate romaine lettuce or any salads, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.

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