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Autumn 2009 E. Coli Outbreak

This autumn, two deaths and twenty-six illnesses in the Northeastern U.S. have been linked to meat contaminated with E. coli. At O'Brien Boyd, PC, we are familiar with the potential long term consequences to a person's health that can result from E. coli poisoning. These consequences can be very severe, and our firm has recovered millions of dollars for E. coli victims, providing them with some compensation for the permanent impact E. coli poisoning has had on their lives.

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Recognizing E. Coli Poisoning

Unfortunately, because the symptoms of E. coli poisoning may mimic other illnesses, it may prove difficult to recognize without medical intervention. The initial symptoms include severe abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea and, in some cases, vomiting. The diarrhea may become bloody and lead to dehydration. There usually will only be a slight fever or no fever at all. Symptoms usually appear one to fourteen days after exposure, with three to four days being typical.

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Preventing E. Coli Infections

The following tips may prove helpful in avoiding infection by E. coli bacteria contained in contaminated food: o The most recent outbreak of E. coli has been linked to ground beef sold by several grocery store chains. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the packages of ground beef suspected of contamination bear the code EST. 492 inside the USDA inspection mark or on the nutrition label. This ground beef has been recalled. All ground beef should be checked for this code before being cooked. o All ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160? F. o Keep raw meats separate from ready-to-eat foods to avoid possible cross-contamination. o After preparing raw meat, use hot, soapy water to clean your hands, countertops, and all utensils used in the preparation. Wash meat thermometers in between tests. o Do not drink non-pasteurized milk, juice or cider. o Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, especially if they are going to be serve