The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur annually in the United States. Every year, 2,100 Americans are hospitalized, and 61 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and its complications. A recent study estimated the annual cost of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to be $405 million (in 2003 dollars). Those costs that contributed to this estimate included $370 million for premature deaths, $30 million for medical care, and $5 million for lost productivity. The CDC’s estimates of E. coli O157:H7 infections recently increased by 50%. In addition, it has been estimated that for every laboratory-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infection, another 4-8 symptomatic cases are likely missed by current surveillance systems. (http://www.about-ecoli.com/)
I speak frequently on issues of safe food and formed Outbreak (www.outbreakinc.com), a non-profit business dedicated to training companies on how to avoid foodborne illness outbreaks. I also post on food-related issues on Marlerblog (www.marlerblog.com). My firm, Marler Clark has been involved in litigation stemming from the largest E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks across the country since the Jack in the Box outbreak of 1993. (http://www.marlerclark.com/news-ecoli.htm) Since 1993, Marler Clark has recovered nearly $300 Million from food companies on behalf of victims.