Earlier this year when our Chicago personal injury lawyers contemplated the current salmonella epidemic caused by infected sushi, no one could have predicted that the toll would be this extensive.
According to the most recent by MSNBC report detailing the outbreak, the victim tally has reached 316, including the 22 year-old frontman for the heavy metal band Attila. What’s more, food safety officials believe that this most up-to-date appraisal is an underestimate as a result of the fact that approximately 29 salmonella cases go unreported for every infection reported. This would mean that the total number of infected Americans might be closer to 9,500.
Salmonella is a form of bacteria generally found in cold- and warm-blooded animals. Infections usually arise following consumption of foods contaminated with the bacteria. Although all persons are at risk for developing salmonella poisoning, infants, the elderly, and adults with compromised or weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.
Salmonella contamination can arise from a number of sources, but commonly comes from such sources as infected food, poor kitchen hygiene, bodily fluids from sick individuals, and polluted water. Typical symptoms of Salmonella poisoning generally present in the form of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within six to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. In more serious cases, victims may develop symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting that can last up to a week.
According to MSNBC, more than 2,500 forms of salmonella are known to exist, but in this particular epidemic, all 141 victims were infected with an extremely rare form called salmonella bareilly, which was an enormous factor in linking the disease back to the sushi. Health officials interviewed most of the infected persons to ask what they ate the week before getting sick. Of those, more than 80 percent recalled eating sushi.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report estimating that each year roughly 48 million people are sickened by a foodborne illness. Of those, 125,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 die after consuming contaminated foods purchased from retail stores or restaurants. Corporations that produce and distribute food owe a duty of care to their customers; manufacturers of all types of consumer goods are responsible for ensuring that the products they distribute to the public are safe for human use, but this is especially true when companies disseminate food. When an individual falls ill because of a contaminated food product, the company responsible for causing that illness may be made to pay to compensate the consumer. Damages in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit, such as one that may arise in this case, might include such things as hospital and medical bills, as well as money lost from an inability to work.
Victims of foodborne illnesses who suffer serious personal injury, hospitalization, or death may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages, if a manufacturer or distributer is responsible for the failure to contain the infection. Our Illinois personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling Illinois food poisoning cases, including a $4 million settlement for three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered from a foodborne illness, seek immediate medical attention. A doctor will be able to diagnose if you have been infected with salmonella poisoning. Additionally, an attorney may be able to apprise you of your rights under the law.