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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

72 People Linked to Nationwide Nestle Cookie Dough E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

We have been retained by 20 of these linked cases (4 HUS) and have thus far filed suit in 3 cases.  We have not filed any suits this week waiting to see if Nestle will offer to pay the acute phase medical expense and wage loss of its customers.  From the CDC last night:

72 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported from 30 states. Of these, 51 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; these confirmatory test results are pending on the others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado (6), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (1), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (2), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (2), Maine (3), Minnesota (6), Missouri (1), Montana (1), North Carolina (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Texas (3), Utah (4), Virginia (2), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (1).

Ill persons range in age from 2 to 65 years; however, 65% are less than 19 years old; 71% are female. Thirty-four persons have been hospitalized, 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); none have died. Reports of these infections increased above the expected baseline in May and continue into June.

In an epidemiologic study, ill persons answered questions about foods consumed during the days before becoming ill and investigators compared their responses to those of persons of similar age and gender previously reported to State Health Departments with other illnesses. Preliminary results of this investigation indicate a strong association with eating raw prepackaged cookie dough. Most patients reported eating refrigerated prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough products raw.

On June 29, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that a culture of a sample of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough currently under recall yielded E. coli O157:H7. The contaminated sample was collected at the firm on June 25, 2009. Further laboratory testing is underway to determine whether the E. coli strain in the product matched the strain causing the outbreak.