California E. coli Lawsuit Settled

Another <"">E. coli lawsuit has been settled, the Fresno Bee reports. The Big Fresno Fair has agreed to pay $2.2 million in a case involving a young girl, now age six, who fell ill from E. coli after visiting a Big Fresno Fair petting zoo in 2004, said the Fresno Bee. The Big Fresno Fair provided $50,000 in wash stations for the petting zoos exterior, making the $2.25 million settlement among the largest in the United States over E. coli exposure at a petting zoo, explained the Fresno Bee.

The Big Fresno Fair did not admit liability. Apparently, its insurer opted for the settlement saying it was “in the best interest of the fair” to settle the case, wrote the Fresno Bee. United Site Services (does business as—DBA—Portosan) was the wash station provider and agreed to pay the $50,000. The issue regarding what, if anything, the petting zoo operator will pay, remains open, said the Fresno Bee. The Great American Petting Zoo, which was named in the original lawsuit, has admitted liability; however, the claim is not covered by its insurer.

Angela Malos was two years old when she was contaminated with the dangerous and deadly E. coli while at the petting zoo with her family; her lawyer announced that she will suffer from the effects of that exposure for the rest of her life, according to the Fresno Bee. Angela suffered from strokes and kidney failure and was required to undergo dialysis, and, said her father—former KMPH (Channel 26.1) anchor John Malos—the E. coli infection has permanently and adversely affected her motor skills, reported the Fresno Bee. Angela requires a full-time aide when at school and lost much of the vision in her right eye. “I feel guilty every day of the week” for having taken her to the fair, said a distraught Malos, following the hearing, quoted the Fresno Bee.

Angela will receive the money via a court-controlled annuity and trust until she turns 18; the monies are expected to cover her lifetime medical expenses related to the contamination, noted the Fresno Bee.

Angela visited the petting zoo on October 13, 2005 and became symptomatic on November 1st-2nd, said the Fresno Bee, which cited a defense expert who said E. coli’s incubation period is three to 10 days, with most showing symptoms in the first three or four days. An expert for Angela pointed out that she became sick from her brother, who also got sick after the family’s visit to the petting zoo, said the Fresno Bee. Other children fell sick with E. coli following visits to the zoo, said a medical expert, wrote the Fresno Bee, citing medical records from the case.

E. coli is a bacteria normally found in the digestive tracts of cows. While some E. coli strains are necessary for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, and toxin producing and part of a virulent group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli. The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems, for instance, people undergoing chemotherapy or who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are the most susceptible to the effects of E. coli.

E. coli may cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, kidney damage in young children, kidney failure, and death. Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days.

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