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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

JBS Swift E. coli Meat Sickens at least 23 in California, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin – When will other states be reporting – like Washington?

Nearly two weeks ago, the CDC and FSIS reported that 23 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular "DNA fingerprint" have been reported from 9 states. Of these, 17 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; confirmatory tests are pending on others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (4), Maine (1), Michigan (6), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (1) and Wisconsin (6).

In light of the illnesses, FSIS issued a notice about a recall of 41,280 pounds of beef products from JBS Swift Beef Company that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. On June 28, the recall was expanded to include 380,000 pounds of assorted pieces of beef (beef primal products) from the same company.

Samples from unopened packages of ground beef recovered from a patient’s home were tested by the Michigan Public Health Laboratory yielded an E. coli O157:H7 isolate that matched the "DNA fingerprint" of the outbreak strain.

It appears, however, that the outbreak may well be larger – more ill people – perhaps an expanded recall? 

We have been retained by several families in this outbreak and have already filed suit on behalf of a New Mexico boy who suffered HUS.  Yesterday we were contacted by a Washington State family whose child suffered severe HUS (weeks hospitalized on dialysis) that may well be linked to this outbreak after the purchased JBS Swift meat at [an unnamed store]. What we know thus far is:

[The] PulseNet database team has checked the profile against our database and it does seem to be indistinguishable from EXHX01.0074/EXHA26.0569 which is the pattern combination associated with 0906WIEXH-1 and the JBS Swift Company recall. Since this pattern combination is common, all isolates with this pattern combination are subtyped by MLVA and only isolates indistinguishable by both PFGE and MLVA are considered as possibly being outbreak related.

More to come today I imagine.