Sick with E. coli?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen is a nationally prominent foodborne illness lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member were sickened by E. coli in Minnetrista, you might have reason to file a lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
A boil water advisory that was issued for Minnetrista, which borders Lake Minnetonka, was lifted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Officials enacted the advisory out of concern that drinking water might have been contaminated by E. coli bacteria as a result of a water main break or frozen tower line.
The neighborhoods affected by the advisory included Hunters Creek, Turtle Creek and surrounding areas, Yellowstone Tr./Palmer Point, Trillium Bay, Woodend Shores, the Stonebridge and Hermitage areas, Woodland Cove, the Pinnacle Way area, the Cardinal Cove area, South Lake Saunders, and North Lake Saunders.
E. coli symptoms
Anyone can become sick by drinking water or eating food contaminated with E. coli, but people with the highest risk of developing a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) include young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system, especially pregnant women.
Symptoms of an E. coli illness are similar to those of other types of food poisoning:
- abdominal pain
- diarrhea, which can be bloody
- loss of appetite
- decreased urination.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome
About 10 percent of people infected with E. coli will develop HUS, and the majority of HUS cases involve children younger than 5. HUS is the leading cause of acute kidney failure for that age group.
HUS generally develops after prolonged diarrhea, usually a week or longer. The disease damages red blood cells, which can clog the kidneys’ filtering system. In the most severe cases, a kidney transplant might be required.
E. coli in 2018
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated three E. coli outbreaks from foodborne pathogens in 2018. Two of those outbreaks were from contaminated romaine lettuce, and the other was from contaminated ground beef.
On its home page for E. coli, the organization links to a page that outlines the process of investigating an E. coli outbreak, “Timeline for Reporting Cases of E. coli O157 Infection.” Here is that process:
Taking DNA fingerprints
Escherichia coli O157 – or E. coli O157 – is the most commonly identified serotype of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria. To determine the serotype of STEC, public health laboratories perform a kind of “DNA fingerprinting” on lab samples. Investigators determine whether the DNA pattern of E. coli O157 bacteria from one person is the same as that from others sickened in an outbreak as well as bacteria taken from the contaminated food, water, or animal. Bacteria with the same “DNA fingerprint” are likely to come from the same source.
A series of events occurs between when a person is infected with E. coli O157 and the time officials can determine that they are part of an outbreak. This is called the “illness timeline.”
Time to illness
This is the time from when a person is exposed to E. coli O157 to the beginning of symptoms, or the “incubation period”. For E. coli O157, this is usually one to three days.
Time to doctor consultation
The time from the first symptom until the person sees a doctor, when a stool sample is collected for laboratory testing. This usually takes one to five days.
Time to diagnosis
The time from when a person gives a stool sample to when E. coli O157 is detected from the sample in a laboratory. This can take up to three days from the time the sample is received by the technician. The diagnosis of infection can be reported to the local health department at this time.
E. coli transfer time
The time required to ship the E. coli O157 bacteria sample from the laboratory to the technicians who will perform “DNA fingerprinting.” This can take up to a week, depending on transportation arrangements within a state and the distance between the laboratory and public health department.
Time to “DNA fingerprinting”
The time required for the state’s public health authorities to perform “DNA fingerprinting” on the E. coli O157 isolate and compare it with the pattern of the outbreak strain. Because many public laboratories have limited staff and space and experience numerous emergencies simultaneously, it can take up to four days.
Add it all up, and the time from the beginning of a person’s illness to the confirmation that the illness is part of an outbreak is about two to three weeks.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by food poisoning. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: