Sickened by tainted ground beef?
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Elliot Olsen is a nationally prominent foodborne illness lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member were sickened by tainted ground beef, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated statistics on the nationwide E. coli outbreak from tainted ground beef, and the numbers are staggering: There are now 156 cases across 10 states, and 20 victims have been hospitalized.

So far, no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly type of kidney failure, have been reported, and no one has died. But the outbreak shows no signs of abating.

One reason for that: Although tainted ground beef has been identified as the culprit, “no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified,” according to the CDC. In addition, people who have become sickened reported eating ground beef both at home and in restaurants.

Tainted ground beef E. coli outbreak grows: 156 ill in 10 states

The CDC said the nationwide E. coli outbreak from tainted ground beef continues to grow, with 156 cases in 10 states, and 20 victims hospitalized.

Tainted ground beef:
Kentucky hit first, hardest

The outbreak first made headlines on March 28, when the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDH) said it was investigating at least 20 E. coli illnesses from an unknown food source.

The CDC entered the fray on April 4, when it announced that it was joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and multiple state health organizations to investigate a “multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O103 infections.” At that time, the total number of cases was 72, although a source still was a mystery.

The food source finally was revealed in the CDC’s April 12 update, when the numbers had risen to 109 people sickened and 17 of them hospitalized.

As of the most recent update, Kentucky remains the hardest hit of the 10 states involved in the outbreak, reporting 65 cases. Tennessee is next with 41 illnesses, and Georgia has reported 33.

Tainted ground beef:
Outbreak by the numbers

The CDC’s update reports that illnesses began on dates from March 1 to April 7. People who have been sickened range in age from less than 1 year old to 83, and the median age is 19. Fifty percent (78) of the victims are female.

Illnesses that occurred after March 26, however, might not yet have been reported yet because of the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to three weeks.

Tainted ground beef:
E. coli symptoms

Anyone can become sick by eating food or drinking water contaminated with E. coli, but people with the highest risk of developing HUS include young children, senior citizens, 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 cramps
  • diarrhea, which can become bloody
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • fever
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • decreased urination.

Tainted ground beef:
About HUS

Approximately 10 percent of people infected with E. coli will develop HUS. The majority of HUS cases involve children under the age of 5 – the disease is the leading cause of acute kidney failure for them.

HUS usually develops after a prolonged case of diarrhea, usually a week or longer. The disease damages red blood cells, which then clog the kidneys’ filtering system. In the most severe cases, a kidney transplant might be necessary.

In addition to the E. coli symptoms listed above, HUS also can produce:

  • an unhealthy pale appearance, also called pallor
  • small, unexplained bruises
  • bleeding from the nose and mouth
  • irritability
  • confusion or seizures
  • high blood pressure
  • swelling of the face, hands, feet or even the entire body.

The Mayo Clinic advises that you should see your doctor immediately if you or your child experience bloody diarrhea or several days of diarrhea followed by:

  • decreased urine output
  • unexplained bruises
  • unusual bleeding
  • extreme fatigue.

If you or your child do not urinate for 12 hours or longer, you should seek emergency care.

Free consultation

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: