June 18, 2024

Ottawa County MI E. coli Outbreak Grows to 12 Sick, 2 HUS Cases

According to Wood TV 8, the Ottawa County MI E. coli outbreak has grown to include 12 sick people with five hospitalized. Derek Glashower of the Ottawa County Health Department told that outlet that two children have “serious kidney complications,” which probably means hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

<img class="size-medium wp-image-96425" src="https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/wp-content/uploads/Pritzker-Hageman-Attorney-Eric-Hageman-724-249x300.jpg" alt="Pritzker-Hageman-Attorney-Eric-Hageman-724" width="249" height="300" /> Food Safety Lawyer and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher <a href="https://www.pritzkerlaw.com/about-us/our-lawyers/eric-hageman/contact-eric/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Eric Hageman</a> "Noted food safety attorney Eric Hageman, who has represented many clients in E. coli and HUS lawsuits, said, “We certainly hope that officials can solve these outbreak soon so people stop getting sick. Any E. coli illness is a tragedy, and it’s especially tragic when children are sick and hospitalized.”

This Ottawa county MI E. coli outbreak is unusual because that area usually sees just two to three cases of E. coli infections every August. This number of illnesses is a significant increase over that average. All twelve patients have shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections (STEC).

What are Shiga toxins?

Shiga toxins are produced by that pathogen. They travel through the bloodstream and attack red blood cells and platelets. These dead cells eventually reach the kidneys, where they clog small tubes called glomeruli, which causes damage and eventually HUS, or kidney failure.

When the kidneys are damaged they can no longer filter waste, and patients can develop blood clotting disorders and high blood pressure, leading to strokes and seizures. Children under the age of five are most susceptible to the damage from HUS. Adults can develop this condition too, but that is rare.

Another Cluster?

It’s unusual that another county-wide E. coli outbreak is occurring at the same time. At least 15 people are sick in Wood county in Ohio, with five hospitalized. We don’t know if these two clusters are related, to each other or within the clusters. Officials are investigating, conducting interviews and traceback.


Food Safety Attorney and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety attorney Eric Hageman, who has represented many clients in E. coli and HUS lawsuits, said, “We certainly hope that officials can find the cause of these illnesses soon so people stop getting sick. Any E. coli illness is a tragedy, and it’s especially tragic  when children are sick and hospitalized.”

Officials do not yet know what is causing these illnesses. Most E. coli outbreaks are linked to contaminated food or contact with ruminant animals. In the past, these illnesses have been linked to romaine lettuce, other types of leafy greens, ground beef, raw sprouts, yogurt, flour, cake mix, and unpasteurized milk.

Outbreaks linked to animal contact are usually associated with state and county fairs and attractions such as petting zoos. Ruminant animals like cows and goats can carry pathogenic E. coli in their gut but do not show any signs of illness. The bacteria is excreted in the animal’s feces, and can then contaminate the environment, and the animal’s coat. People come into contact with these contaminated surfaces and can get sick.

Symptoms of a STEC Infection and HUS

The symptoms of a STEC infection usually begin three to five days after exposure to the pathogen. Patients may have a mild fever and nausea and vomiting. The classic symptoms include severe and painful abdominal cramps along with bloody and watery diarrhea.

HUS can develop one to two weeks after the initial infection. Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, pale skin, lethargy, easy bruising, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. This condition is a medical emergency, and anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

Protect Yourself From This Ottawa county MI E. coli Outbreak

The best ways to prevent this type of infection is to be careful about what you eat and practice good hand hygiene. If you or a family member is susceptible to complications from food poisoning, know the symptoms of an E. coli infection.

Always make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food and eating, and after contact with animals. Supervise small children around animals and make sure they wash their hands afterwards.

And learn good food safety habits in the kitchen. Cook all meats to a safe final internal temperature. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before preparation. Avoid cross-contamination with uncooked meats and items that are eaten raw, and do not consume raw milk or sprouts.

If someone does get sick, now that you know the symptoms of an E. coli infection and HUS, you can get medical help quickly. If you live in Wood County, Ohio or Ottawa County, Michigan, be especially vigilant.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you or a member of your family has been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS, 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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