October 3, 2022

Almost 100 Sick with E. coli in Three Michigan Counties

Almost 100 people are sick with E. coli infections in three Michigan counties, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and three local heath departments. The counties affected are Kent, Ottawa, and Oakland.

Almost 100 Sick with E. coli in Three Michigan Counties

Ottawa county has been releasing statements about E. coli illness clusters in that area. According to the last update, 18 people are sick in that county alone, an increase from the last reported total of 12 sick. This case count allegedly includes an infant who is hospitalized. At least two people in Ottawa county have hemolytic ureic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is a complication of an E. coli infection.

The health department has received reports of 98 cases of E. coli infections so far in August. That compares to 20 cases during the same time period in 2021. Laboratory results have linked some of these cases to each other. The investigation is in its early stages.

One of the issues with these illnesses is that so many foods and even venues can be the source so investigations are complicated. In the past, E. coli outbreaks have been linked to petting zoos, county fairs, spinach, cake mix, raw sprouts, swimming pools, romaine lettuce, and leafy greens. And some have been unsolved.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, said in a statement, “While reports of E. coli illness typically increase during the warmer summer months, this significant jump in cases is alarming. This is a reminder to make sure to follow best practices when it comes to hand hygiene and food handling to prevent these kinds of foodborne illness. If you are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection like cramping and diarrhea (or gastrointestinal distress), especially if they are severe, make sure to let your health care provider know.”

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Food Safety Attorney and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety attorney Eric Hageman, who has represented many clients in E. coli lawsuits, said, “We hope that the source or sources of these illnesses is discovered soon, so more people do not get sick. This infection can be frightening, especially for parents of small children who are ill.”

Anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of an E. coli infection should see a doctor as soon as possible. This is a reportable illness, which means that health care providers must contact their local health department of report suspected or confirmed cases.

Officials have not yet said this is an outbreak. While some patient isolates do match each other, more investigation is necessary, including interviews with patients, traceback, and possible collection and testing of samples.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include  low grade fever, nausea, and vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is usually bloody. People start feeling ill three to five days after infection, although the incubation period can be as long as a week.

Symptoms of HUS include lethargy, little or no urine output, pale skin, easy bruising, and bleeding from the nose and mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms needs to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with an E. coli infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors.

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