How a Food Poisoning Attorney Can Help
If you suffered minimal symptoms that cleared up in a few days, the value of your damages might be less than the cost of a lawsuit. But if you suffered complications like dehydration that required hospitalization, another infection requiring antibiotics, typhoid fever, reactive arthritis, or other side effects, your damages may be substantial.
If you have a claim for compensation, the next step is to determine whether we can identify the party liable for the infection. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigates the origins of Salmonella infections. The CDC often pinpoints the cause of contamination, though it does not always identify the origins of the bacteria. A salmonella outbreak also may be investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) depending on the allegedly contaminated food. State and local public health departments also investigate Salmonella outbreaks within their jurisdiction.
When we have information regarding how you contracted the Salmonella infection, we will file a product liability claim against the suppliers of the tainted food. The theory of liability we focus on will depend on the circumstances surrounding the outbreak and your specific case.
If you have a case, we will fight for you to receive the maximum compensation possible for your:
Liability for Salmonella contamination can fall on various businesses shoulders, including:
In most cases, a business that produces, transports, or sells food will be liable. But individuals can also be liable for food poisoning due to their negligence in storing, preparing, and serving contaminated food.
The specific liable party will depend on your particular situation. It is essential to talk with an experienced Salmonella outbreak lawyer about your case and legal options.
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes Salmonellosis. Symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and fever that starts within three days of exposure.
There are several types of Salmonella bacteria. Some occur naturally in different geographic areas and animals, while others are found in a single place or specific animal. Some serotypes cause mild illnesses, and others cause more severe illnesses.
There are more than 2,500 serotypes of Salmonella, but fewer than 100 cause infections in humans. The most common types in the U.S. are Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis. Other types found in the U.S. are Salmonella serotypes Agona, Javiana, and Heidelberg.
Most healthy adults and children recover without treatment. But Salmonella poisoning can be so severe that it requires people to be hospitalized. Salmonella can be fatal when the infection leaves the intestines and travels to the bloodstream or other parts of the body. When someone suffers from a severe infection, antibiotics are necessary to prevent significant injury or death.
It is also possible to experience long-term side effects, including joint pain known as reactive arthritis, which is also known as Reiter’s Syndrome. This can last for months or years and result in chronic arthritis, which is difficult to treat. Reactive arthritis can also lead to eye irritation and painful urination.
In rare cases, some types of Salmonella cause typhoid fever, which can be fatal.
Healthy adults and children can suffer from severe infections, but infants, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are more likely to suffer serious complications.
Salmonella is most often contracted by consuming contaminated food. The CDC estimates Salmonella causes 1.2 million illnesses per year and about 1 million of those are the result of contaminated food, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and spices.
Some animals naturally carry different types of Salmonella, and you can contract an infection by coming into contact with the animals or their feces. Birds and reptiles carry the most risk.
Children face the highest risk of Salmonella poisoning. According to the CDC, children under 5 years old have higher rates of infection than any other age group.
Individuals who travel internationally also face a higher risk of Salmonella infection due to poor sanitation in developing countries. Travelers also are more likely to contract a type of Salmonella that causes typhoid fever while abroad.
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The most common symptoms of Salmonella are:
Salmonella has a brief incubation period. People tend to show symptoms within eight to 72 hours of consuming contaminated food or water.
Most healthy children and adults recover from Salmonella within a few days or weeks. Typically, symptoms last two to seven days. But diarrhea can last up to 10 days, and your bowel habits may not completely recover for several months.
A physician can suspect a Salmonella infection based on your symptoms. However, confirmation requires laboratory testing of a stool or blood sample. Lab scientists will culture your sample to see if there is Salmonella bacteria growth.
Salmonella does not necessarily require treatment. However, dehydration is a common complication. Severe dehydration should be treated by a physician and may require hospitalization.
Anti-diarrheal medications are not always recommended because they can prolong the infection. But they can be used to relieve cramping and other intestinal symptoms.
Another complication of Salmonella is bacteremia, which means the infection has entered the bloodstream. This can lead to the infection spreading throughout the body and harming the brain or spinal cord (meningitis), the lining or valves of the heart (endocarditis), bones or bone marrow (osteomyelitis), or the lining of blood vessels.
All of these issues require hospitalization and treatment to prevent severe injury or death. When Salmonella has spread to the bloodstream, antibiotics are used to treat the infection.
Salmonella is a prevalent foodborne illness. At any given time, there may be one or more ongoing Salmonella outbreaks. When you are diagnosed with a Salmonella infection, our attorneys will review whether your case appears to be connected to an ongoing outbreak or any recalled products. You also may be one of the first to be diagnosed as part of a new outbreak, and it may take the CDC weeks or months to investigate and determine the origin of the bacterial contamination.
For example, an ongoing coast-to-coast outbreak of Salmonella Newport was announced on July 21, 2020. At this time, the source of the contamination has not yet been identified. But it has already sickened at least 125 people in 15 states from Washington to North Carolina, and 24 people have been hospitalized.
Cavi-brand whole, fresh papayas, imported from Mexico, were also recently linked to an outbreak. There were 71 reported cases across eight states, which led to 27 hospitalizations and no deaths. These papayas were distributed by Agroson’s LLC.
Backyard poultry was also linked to a multistate outbreak. As of July 2019, there were 279 reported cases throughout 41 states involving 40 hospitalizations and no deaths. Of those who contracted the illness, 70 have been children younger than 5 years old. The contamination appears to be from chicks and ducklings obtained through various agricultural stores, websites, hatcheries, and other sources.
Twenty-seven cases of Salmonella Typhimurium across 17 states were linked to hedgehogs. The CDC has not identified a common source of the hedgehogs.
Additionally, as of July 2019, 93 people across 27 states had become ill due to pig ear dog treats. Twenty people were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
The CDC has outbreak reports linked to Karawan-brand Tahini, frozen raw tuna, pre-cut melon, and Butterball-brand ground turkey in 2019.
In 2018, the CDC reported on outbreaks connected to tahini, raw chicken, ground beef, eggs, pasta salad, cereal, dried coconut, chicken salad, kratom, sprouts, and frozen shredded coconut.
If a Salmonella culture is confirmed in your case, the lab submits information regarding the Salmonella case to local and state public health labs for serotyping and DNA fingerprinting. This helps authorities connect various cases of Salmonella infections and pinpoint the origin. Public health agencies then report results to the CDC, FDA, and/or USDA.
Federal authorities closely track Salmonella outbreaks. It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing severe symptoms and to have your diagnosis confirmed. When you test positive for Salmonella, this helps your local health department and the CDC identify and contain and outbreak.
Don’t wait until it is too late to discuss your rights after a Salmonella outbreak. You deserve to know the facts, who is responsible, and your options regarding compensation. With decades of experience in the food safety field and millions of dollars recovered, our OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers have the skill and resources to handle any foodborne illness case.
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