Petting zoo: Minnesota 10-year-old awarded $7.55 million in E. coli settlement

Maury Glover of Fo 9 reports a jury awarded $7.5 million to a Rosemount, Minnesota family after a young girl contracted E. coli from a petting zoo at Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton.

emma-rosemount-girl-e-coli_1479962267763_2325612_ver1-0_640_360In 2013, Emma Heidish spent a month overcoming a potentially deadly form of kidney disease which cause her kidneys to shut down and required surgery and near constant dialysis.

On Tuesday, a Hennepin County jury found the owners of the farm where she got E. coli, Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, negligent for not taking steps to prevent their animals from transmitting diseases and awarded Emma $7.5 million.

Emma was one of seven people sickened in an October 2013 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked by the Minnesota Department of Health to cows in the animal attraction  at Dehn’s Pumpkins, LLC, a business located in Dayton, MN.

The bulk of the money is for future medical bills and pain and suffering.

“It is one of the largest verdicts in the country for an E. coli outbreak for a condition like this one and its one of the largest involving a petting zoo case,” Emma’s attorney, Fred Pritzker, said. “The people who run the pumpkin patch are decent people. It’s not that they were mean spirited. But, what they didn’t know caused a great deal of pain and suffering for my clients.”

Since the outbreak, the popular pumpkin patch no longer operates a petting zoo, but Pritzker sais animal attractions like it are not regulated or inspected.

His firm will push for a new law, named after Emma, requiring petting zoos to follow safety precautions, like having hand washing stations nearby to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“There have been 150 to 200 cases of outbreaks involving animals in public settings in the last 15 years, Pritzker said

Pritzker says Emma probably won’t see all the money because the farm’s insurance doesn’t have that much coverage.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks (which needs to be updatd) is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx

Toddler contracts serious E. coli infection on NZ family farm

Eight months on from a rescue helicopter dash to Starship children’s hospital, two-year-old Grace Dheda is enjoying being back on her family’s farm – even though it nearly killed her.

grace-dhedaIn March, Grace and her family were savouring rural life in Wellsford.

Mum Megan and Dad Kirin were planning their up-coming wedding. 

That all came to a sudden halt when their daughter began to show signs of illness.

After two days of vomiting and diarrhea, a doctor diagnosed a tummy bug.

Grace was sent home and prescribed plenty of fluids, Megan says.

At home Grace played on the deck like her normal self, but collapsed at bedtime.

Grace was rushed back to the doctors.

“They put her on oxygen straight away. She’d been unconscious for about 45 minutes and they were starting to worry about potential brain damage.”

Given the severity of the situation and the closest ambulance an hour away, the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called.

Grace and Megan were ferried to a helipad and arrived to see the chopper landing.

“It was such a relief to see the helicopter,” Megan says.

Megan recalls, “At first nobody knew what was wrong with her and why she was having these seizures. It wasn’t until a few days before we left the hospital that we found out she had contracted E. coli and HUS (Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome).”

HUS is a severe complication of the E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.

At first it was thought that Grace had contracted the bacterial infection through the water supply, however this was later tested and found to be normal.

It is now believed that she contracted it via the farm animals.

Megan says, “We’ve got cows here on the farm and I don’t like Grace going anywhere near them. The doctor told me I have ‘parental anxiety.’ ‘I love the farm life, but I’m a bit paranoid now and have about 20 bottles of sanitiser around the place.”

The Helicopter Trust is actively fundraising at present in order to purchase three new ventilators for use on their helicopters and in their Rapid Response Vehicle.

Raw sprouts and sausage: There’s some hot STECs out there

In 2011, one of the world’s largest outbreaks of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) occurred, caused by a rare Escherichia coli serotype, O104:H4, that shared the virulence profiles of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)/enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC).

sprout-santa_-barf_-xmas__0-featuredThe persistence and fitness factors of the highly virulent EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 strain, grown either in food or in vitro, were compared with those of E. coli O157 outbreak-associated strains.

The log reduction rates of the different EHEC strains during the maturation of fermented sausages were not significantly different. Both the O157:NM and O104:H4 serotypes could be shown by qualitative enrichment to be present after 60 days of sausage storage. Moreover, the EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 strain appeared to be more viable than E. coli O157:H7 under conditions of decreased pH and in the presence of sodium nitrite. Analysis of specific EHEC strains in experiments with an EHEC inoculation cocktail showed a dominance of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4, which could be isolated from fermented sausages for 60 days. Inhibitory activities of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 toward several E. coli strains, including serotype O157 strains, could be determined. Our study suggests that EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 is well adapted to the multiple adverse conditions occurring in fermented raw sausages. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that STEC strain cocktails composed of several serotypes, instead of E. coli O157:H7 alone, be used in food risk assessments.

The enhanced persistence of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 as a result of its robustness, as well as the production of bacteriocins, may account for its extraordinary virulence potential.

sproutssprouts-batzIMPORTANCE In 2011, a severe outbreak caused by an EHEC/EAEC serovar O104:H4 strain led to many HUS sequelae. In this study, the persistence of the O104:H4 strain was compared with those of other outbreak-relevant STEC strains under conditions of fermented raw sausage production. Both O157:NM and O104:H4 strains could survive longer during the production of fermented sausages than E. coli O157:H7 strains. E. coli O104:H4 was also shown to be well adapted to the multiple adverse conditions encountered in fermented sausages, and the secretion of a bacteriocin may explain the competitive advantage of this strain in an EHEC strain cocktail.

Consequently, this study strongly suggests that enhanced survival and persistence, and the presumptive production of a bacteriocin, may explain the increased virulence of the O104:H4 outbreak strain. Furthermore, this strain appears to be capable of surviving in a meat product, suggesting that meat should not be excluded as a source of potential E. coli O104:H4 infection.

Fitness of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC)/Enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 in comparison to that of EHEC O157: Survival studies in food and in vitro

Applied and Environmental Microbiology; November 2016 vol. 82 no. 21 6326-6334

Christina Böhnlein, Jan Kabisch, Diana Meske, Charles M. A. P. Franz and Rohtraud Pichner

http://aem.asm.org/content/82/21/6326.abstract?etoc

Avoid pigeon poop, possible source of bad E. coli

Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections in humans cause disease ranging from uncomplicated intestinal illnesses to bloody diarrhea and systemic sequelae, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

pigeon-poop-shamelessPrevious research indicated that pigeons may be a reservoir for a population of verotoxigenic E. coli producing the VT2f variant. We used whole-genome sequencing to characterize a set of VT2f-producing E. coli strains from human patients with diarrhea or HUS and from healthy pigeons. We describe a phage conveying the vtx2f genes and provide evidence that the strains causing milder diarrheal disease may be transmitted to humans from pigeons.

The strains causing HUS could derive from VT2f phage acquisition by E. coli strains with a virulence genes asset resembling that of typical HUS-associated verotoxigenic E. coli.

Whole-Genome characterization and strain comparison of VT2f- producing Eschericha coli causing hemolytic uremic syndrome

Emerging Infectious Dieseaes, Volume 22, Number 12- December 2016,  DOI: 10.3201/eid2212.160017

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/22/12/16-0017_article#suggestedcitation

$1.6 M lawsuit claims Calgary siblings infected with E. coli after eating at Vietnamese restaurant

Kevin Martin of the Calgary Herald reports a $1.6-million lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Calgary brother and sister who were infected with E. coli, allegedly from eating tainted food at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Chi Lan Vietnamese RestaurantThe lawsuit filed on behalf of minors Hunter and Julia Aloisio said both were infected with E. coli after dining at the Chi Lan Vietnamese Restaurant on July 31, 2014.

It says Hunter Aloisio was impacted most by the infection, developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The boy required dialysis to treat the illness and is now susceptible to kidney failure, the lawsuit says.

The claim names the restaurant, as well as its suppliers and “upstream defendants,” unidentified companies “involved in the livestock slaughter and dressing industry, the farming industry and/or the secondary processing industry.”

“The defendants were negligent and breached the standard of care owed to the plaintiffs,” the statement of claim filed on behalf of the siblings says.

“The defendants owed the plaintiffs a duty of care to ensure that their products, including the restaurant food, were safe for consumption and would not expose the plaintiffs to contaminants such as E. coli bacteria,” it says.

Utah girl, 8, dies from Shiga-toxin producing E. coli

A family in American Fork is receiving an outpouring of support after an 8-year-old girl became sick last week, was rushed to a hospital but died five days later.

hannah.jolley.e.coliBrian and Melissa Jolley never imagined they would be making funeral plans for their daughter, Hannah.

“She always wanted to play with her friends, loved playing with friends,” Melissa Jolley said.

On the morning of July 14, she started showing symptoms typical of the flu. But her condition quickly deteriorated.

“Come Thursday night she had a really, really hard night. And Friday morning we could tell she was in a lot of pain,” Brian Jolley said.

Doctors at Utah Valley Hospital quickly diagnosed her with E. coli. She was later flown to Primary Children’s Hospital. Last Monday she had a seizure, and doctors determined Hannah had hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that destroys red blood cells.

The most common cause of HUS, particularly in children, is E. coli infection.

“We have no idea how she got the E. coli. At this point it’s not important,” Brian Jolley said. “We want answers someday. Of course, we want to know where it came from.”

Hannah died Tuesday night, and since then the show of support from the community has been non-stop. Hand-made decorations, chalk art and ribbons decorate the Jolleys’ home in American Fork. Complete strangers have phoned and emailed the family to offer support.

Shiga-toxin producing E. coli: Montessori school closed after 2 students hospitalized

The Washington, Monroe Montessori School was closed Wednesday after two young children were hospitalized with E. coli.

The girls are both under the age of 5 and were hospitalized. Only one of the girls has a confirmed kidney issue called HUS, which indicates a more serious case of E. coli. Her condition has not been released.

Sixty other preschoolers and 10 staff members may have been exposed. Everyone who has been at the school since July 11 is being tested.  Test Kits will be sent to parents Thursday, and results can take about five days.

Although it is not the source of the E. coli, the school is also being sanitized.

“The exact source of contamination in E. coli can be very difficult to identify, but at this point we believe the children were likely exposed to livestock near their home,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Health District.

Cottage cheese positive: More clues in Romanian HUS outbreak

The Romanian Institute of Hygiene and Veterinary Public Health (BIP) received, until 29 February 2016 a total of 337 samples of food samples taken from the Ministry of Health indicated and notified through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed

UnknownTo these are added a total of 59 samples , received until March 3, 2016 in samples of joint teams DSV – DSP ​​of water, dairy products and raw material milk and 15 samples from samples of dairy products, required to be analyzed by the owner of the milk processing in Arges county, under the program of self-control.

By that date, the total of 411 samples received , 312 have been completed (two with positive results) and 99 samples are in progress .

Data from ANSVSA checks indicate that there is a direct causal link between the cottage cheese product from the lot on 22.02.2016 and illnesses of children diagnosed with HUS.

Please note that pasteurization of raw milk from the group ensures the bacteria Escherichia coli (including O26) , and the resulting products are safe for consumption.

Regarding the positive sample detected in poultry meat (if Bacau), clarified that the appropriate heat treatment and compliance with hygiene prevents transmission of bacteria from the group Escherichia coli.

60 sickened: Lawsuit filed in Wash. fair E. coli outbreak

The Bellingham Herald reports that the families of six children sickened in the E. coli outbreak at the Milk Makers Fest last April are suing the organizer of the event, the organization behind the Lynden fairgrounds, and the Lynden School District.

handwash.UK.petting.zoo.09A total of 60 people likely were ill, according to a report issued by the CDC in October.

The lawsuit is being filed in Whatcom County Superior Court against the Whatcom County Dairy Women, Northwest Washington Fair Association and the Lynden School District.

It argues that the organizations failed to protect children from being infected by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, the strain that sickened them, because they didn’t follow established public health rules and guidelines, including from the National Association of State Public Heath Veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such measures are meant to reduce illness in people who come into contact with farm animals.

“Why don’t you do what the law says you should do and what public health has indicated works?” said attorney Bruce Clark, who represents the families, in an interview.

He said there was an enormous wealth of information that showed this outbreak could have been prevented. “It’s a darn shame it happened,” Clark said.

Attorneys for the organizations couldn’t be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

About 1,325 Whatcom County first-grade students, plus the teachers and parents who accompanied them, from all school districts in Whatcom County went to the Milk Makers Fest April 21-23 at the Northwest Washington Fair & Event Center in Lynden. The festival had been going on for 22 years by then.

The event was designed to introduce young students to farming. It also gave them a chance to pet farm animals, including small horses, sheep, rabbits, chickens and a calf. There was a hay maze and scavenger hunt as well.

People who helped set up and take down the event — on April 20 and 24 — also were among those who were sickened. Some of those who attended the event later spread it to others who hadn’t, including family members.

Of the total number of people who were ill, 25 were confirmed through tests and 35 were probable. Eleven were hospitalized. Six developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication. No one died.

The organizations also didn’t make sure all children washed their hands with soap and water after leaving the dairy barn and before eating or drinking, nor were they told to keep their fingers out of their mouths until they washed their hands, according to the lawsuit.

The CDC report in October stated that animals, including cattle, had been exhibited in the barn during previous events and that before the dairy education event, tractors, scrapers and leaf blowers were used to move manure to a bunker at the north end of the barn.

The group that used the barn before that was identified as the Whatcom Youth Fair in the lawsuit, which states that the fairgrounds had given the group the option of cleaning the barn themselves or paying a fee to have it cleaned.

“You’re basically blowing bacteria through your facility,” Clark said of using leaf blowers.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health 62:90-99, 2015

G. Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman  and D. Powell

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zph.12117/abstract?deniedAccess

Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the US caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

petting.zoo.guidelines

Women more at risk than men of developing HUS from STEC E. coli in Japan

Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections usually cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) equally in male and female children. This study investigated the localization of globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) in human brain and kidney tissues removed from forensic autopsy cases in Japan.

e.coli.japanA fatal case was used as a positive control in an outbreak of diarrheal disease caused by STEC O157:H7 in a kindergarten in Urawa in 1990. Positive immunodetection of Gb3 was significantly more frequent in female than in male distal and collecting renal tubules.

To correlate this finding with a clinical outcome, a retrospective analysis of the predictors of renal failure in the 162 patients of two outbreaks in Japan was performed: one in Tochigi in 2002 and the other in Kagawa Prefecture in 2005.

This study concludes renal failure, including HUS, was significantly associated with female sex, and the odds ratio was 4·06 compared to male patients in the two outbreaks. From 2006 to 2009 in Japan, the risk factor of HUS associated with STEC infection was analyzed. The number of males and females and the proportion of females who developed HUS were calculated by age and year from 2006 to 2009. In 2006, 2007 and 2009 in adults aged >20 years, adult women were significantly more at risk of developing HUS in Japan.

Risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli infection in adult women in Japan

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 5, April 2016, Pages 952-961, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268815002289 

Fujii, T. Mizoue, T. Kita, H. Kishimoto, K. Joh, Y. Nakada, S. Ugajin, Y. Naya, T. Nakamura, Y. Tada, N. Okabe, Y. Maruyama, K. Saitoh, and Y. Kurozawa

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10216096&utm_source=Issue_Alert&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=HYG