November 29, 2021

Georgia National Fair E. coli Outbreak Sickens at Least Four

Georgia National Fair E. coli Outbreak Sickens at Least FourAn E. coli outbreak believed to be linked to the Georgia National Fair has sickened at least four children, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health and the North Central Health District. All of the children attended the Georgia National Fair that took place in Perry, Georgia, on October 7 to October 17, 2021. Public health officials are working with the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter to investigate these cases.

All four confirmed cases are in children who live in Georgia. Three of those children have been hospitalized. One case has been confirmed as E. coli O157:H7, which is one of a number of particularly dangerous types of bacteria known as Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC). The Shiga Toxin produced by STEC E. coli can seriously damage kidneys and other organs. News reports state that at least one of the children has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) according to one parent. HUS is a type of kidney failure.

Georgia Health Officials Ask For Public’s Help In Investigation

Epidemiologists are just starting the investigation into this outbreak. Anyone who attended the fair is asked to complete a survey to help investigators solve this outbreak. Attendees are asked to complete the survey even if they are not sick. All information is private according to HIPAA practices. The information will be used to investigate the outbreak and to determine what could have caused the illnesses.

Past Fair Outbreaks Linked to Petting Zoos and Close Animal Contact

While no definitive link has yet been established in this current outbreak, previous STEC outbreaks at fairs have been linked to petting zoos and other public animal contact opportunities. Those attractions can be risky, especially for children, since the animals displayed there can carry E. coli bacteria. Sheep, cows, and other ruminant animals often have E. coli in their intestines, but they do not get ill from that pathogen. The animals look healthy, and are not sick themselves, even though they are carriers.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or texting 612-261-0856.

These animals shed the pathogen in their feces, which can get onto their coats, surrounding materials such as bedding and fences, and can even become aerosolized or carried by dust. Anyone who visits a petting zoo should be aware of this risk and operators of those zoos should have hand washing stations and abundant, obvious and specific warnings at every exhibit.

Noted food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients and families in E. coli lawsuits, said, “It’s always a tragedy when children get so sick. We hope that the children recover completely and that there are no more cases in this outbreak.”

E. coli and HUS Symptoms

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, nausea and vomiting, and the hallmark symptoms of severe abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome include little or no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, bruising, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. HUS is more common in children under the age of five who contract this infection. Anyone experiencing these symptoms needs to see a doctor as soon as possible.

If your family visited this fair and anyone has been ill with those symptoms, see a doctor immediately. They may be part of this Georgia National Fair E. coli outbreak.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you child has been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS after visiting the Georgia National Fair, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856.

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