April 17, 2024

About 100 Sickened in E. coli Outbreak at University of Arkansas

According to Dr. Naveen Patil, Deputy State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, there are about 100 people sickened in an E. coli outbreak at the University of Arkansas, and four people have been hospitalized. A press conference was published on the University of Arkansas Pat Walker Health Center web site.

About 100 Sickened in E. coli Outbreak at University of Arkansas

Dr. Patil said the Department was notified that some University students had been hospitalized, and they started investigating. He said, “Having so many cases within a short period of time is concerning.” He said that it appears that all of the hospitalized patients and those sickened are connected to the University in some way. The number changes every day, and more people could be hospitalized. He added that some of those who have been hospitalized have been discharged.

University officials do not know if the source of the pathogen is from the University or from the community, perhaps at a restaurant. The investigation is still ongoing. He also said that the Department of Health is working with officials at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Patil does not think that these infections are linked to beaches, which have been recently closed in the area due to E. coli contamination. He also said that the CDC has confirmed that this outbreak is not linked to other E. coli outbreaks that are occurring at this time in the country.

The pathogen is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC), which can cause serious illness, including kidney failure. Shiga toxins can travel through the bloodstream, destroying red blood cells. When those damaged cells reach the kidneys, they can cause a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Dr. Patil stressed that people should not be afraid to eat at the University, but everyone should take sensible precautions, such as making sure meat is cooked thoroughly, rinsing fruits and vegetables before preparation, and washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing food and before eating.

Symptoms of a STEC infection include a mild fever, possible nausea and vomiting, and severe and painful abdominal cramps, along with diarrhea that is usually bloody. If anyone is experiencing bloody diarrhea, so much vomiting that you can’t retain fluids, signs of dehydration, or diarrhea for more than three days that isn’t improving, see your doctor.

Symptoms of HUS include little or no urination, lethargy, pale skin, and a skin rash. This condition is serious and requires medical intervention.

If you are connected to the University of Arkansas and have been experiencing symptoms, see a doctor. You may be part of this E. coli outbreak.

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, restaurants, and food processors.

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