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27 Sickened with E. Coli From Animals at State Fair

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers read with concern about the latest outbreak of E. Coli poisoning that sickened more than 27 people attending a state fair, reports MSNBC.

According to State Heath and Agriculture officials, a building at the state fair that housed goats, pigs, and sheep was likely the source of the contamination. Officials speculate that the permanent structure is a breeding ground for the E. Coli bacteria, and people were likely infected with the illness when they visited the live animal exhibit. State officials have also proclaimed that no other exhibits, activities, or foods at the fair were linked to the outbreak, which makes animal contact an even more likely culprit for infection.

Escherichia Coli, or E. Coli as it is more commonly called, is a type of bacteria known to cause illness in humans. The E. Coli bacterium originates from the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals where it serves to produce vitamin K. It most commonly affects humans by way of consumption of contaminated food, and it is transferred to food products by fecal contamination. In this case, however, it is likely that the disease was transferred directly from the animals themselves.

In this case, state officials and people who are responsible for putting on the fair would have the responsibility for ensuring that fair exhibits are free from contamination. The state could potentially be held liable for exposing citizens to a contagion, and could possibly be made to pay damages for the injuries suffered by the victims. According to MSNBC, officials with the State’s Division of Public Health have stated that they are working to identify additional protective measures for fairgoers in the future.

As a general rule, Illinois premises liability law covers situations in which a person suffers injury while on another person’s property. Property owners may be legally responsible for injuries that occur on their properties if there are potential hazards on the land and the owner either fails to correct them, or fails to warn people who come onto the land about the potential danger. This can be extended to include illnesses that are acquired on the land if there is a known source of potential contagion.

Although the symptoms of E. Coli 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.

People who suffer serious personal injury, hospitalization, or death due to accidents or injuries – or illnesses – that occur on the property of others may be able to seek compensation for their injuries from the property owners who are otherwise responsible for maintaining a safe environment on their property.

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers have handled numerous cases arising out of injuries that occurred on the property of others, and even won 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.