Our Chicago personal injury attorneys were concerned to hear that the number of victims suffering from E. Coli obtained from Shnucks grocery stores’ salad bars has now risen to 26, according to MSNBC and the Associated Press.
The latest news report conveyed the fact that health officials are taking a closer look at items found on the grocery chain’s salad bars in a number of cities, including stores located in St. Clair County, Illinois. Although no deaths or potentially deadly cases have yet been reported, health officials have confirmed 26 cases of E. Coli food poisoning originating from the Shnucks stores. In response to the outbreak, state officials are testing samples from five different Schnucks grocery stores; foods being examined include broccoli, deviled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, pineapple, carrots, radishes, zucchini, red onions, and salad dressings.
Escherichia Coli, or E. Coli as it is commonly abbreviated, is a type of bacteria known to cause food poisoning illnesses. The E. Coli bacterium originates from the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals where it serves to produce vitamin K; it is transferred to food products by fecal contamination. While most strains are harmless, some forms have been known to cause serious illness in humans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that each year, approximately 48 million people fall ill from foodborne illnesses, including sicknesses caused by E. Coli. Of those, over 125,000 people require hospitalization, and another 3,000 die from complications resulting from having consumed the contaminated foods.
Although the indications of food poisoning vary based on the source of the contamination and the health of the infected victim, more dangerous strains of E. Coli can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis. In rare, more virulent strains, the disease may present in the form of more serious illnesses such as septicemia, peritonitis, and even pneumonia. Persons at the highest risk for serious injuries associated with food poisoning are the elderly, infants, and adults with weakened immune systems. In some instances, such as the June 2011 E. Coli outbreak, women were more prone to show symptoms.
People who suffer serious personal injury, hospitalization, or death due to illness from contaminated foods may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from those responsible for providing or distributing the food. Damages include such things as lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering, and loss of the companionship of a loved one who has died from the illness. Our Illinois food poisoning attorneys have extensive experience handling these types of cases, and understand what it takes to be successful in even the most complicated Illinois food poisoning cases. In fact, our attorneys obtained a $4 million settlement against a hotel chain, on behalf of three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered illness due to a foodborne illness – either from a restaurant or purchased from a grocery store – contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law.