May 24, 2024

Eight Hospitalized in Appalachian Fair Tennessee E. coli Outbreak

Eight patients are now hospitalized in the Appalachian Fair Tennessee E. coli outbreak, according to news reports. Dr. David Kirschke, medical director of the Northeast Regional Health Office updated the outbreak on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. Those patients either visited the fair as part of an elementary school field trip, or had contact with some of those children. Four of those hospitalized are seriously ill with complications.

Eight Hospitalized in Appalachian Fair TN E. coli Outbreak

E. coli can be passed person-to-person, as well as through contact with animals who carry the pathogen, and eating contaminated food. It’s also possible that E. coli in feces may be on the children’s shoes. Then when they get home, the pathogens are transferred to rugs and carpets. At the fair, children allegedly had contact with farm animals.

Ruminant animals like goats and cows can carry the pathogen in their guts and not get sick. But they pass the E. coli bacteria in their feces, where it can contaminate their coats, pens, bedding, fences, railings, and gates. Then when someone touches a contaminated object and eats or touches their mouth without washing their hands, they can get sick.

Some of the sick children are very small, including a 15-month old child and a 3-year-old. The patient age range was not provided, nor were illness onset dates. All of those hospitalized are children.

Petting zoos and fairs have been the sites of many serious outbreaks in the past, including a cryptosporidium outbreak in New Mexico that is linked to the New Mexico State Fair. Eighteen people are sick in that outbreak, which happened in early September 2023. And in 2021, an E. coli outbreak associated with the Georgia National Fair sickened at least four children.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, possible nausea and vomiting, and the characteristic severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea that is bloody. Some patients, especaily children under the age of five, can develop a compilation called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which  is a type of kidney failure. Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, and easy bruising.

If your child attended that fair or has been in contact with someone who was at the fair, and has been experiencing the symptoms of an E. coli infection or HUS, see your doctor. They may be part of this Appalachian Fair Tennessee E. coli outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning 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, fairs, petting zoos, farm tourism, and food processors.

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