E. coli Outbreak Linked to Wisconsin Market

An outbreak of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E. coli, reported just prior to the Christmas holidays, has been linked to a Wisconsin market.

Three new cases reported in Michigan brings the total to seven people sickened from eating contaminated smoked meat products produced at Zillman Meat Market late last year, said the Wausau Daily Herald, citing the Marathon County Health Department. The health department broadened its advisory on smoked meats produced at Zillman Meat Market from September 30 through December 23, from November 13, said the Wausau Daily Herald. The source of the contamination has not yet been determined.

Judy Burrows, the Health Department’s chronic disease prevention director said all seven cases are connected and involve some of the same people, wrote the Wausau Daily Herald. “The folks we know from Wausau who were sick had shared some of their smoked meat products with others from Michigan,” Burrows said, quoted the Wausau Daily Herald.

The Health Department says that ready-to-eat smoked meat produced at Zillman’s within the implicated dates be disposed of, or for consumers to contact Zillman’s for return, explained the Wausau Daily Herald.

Since the first warning, Zillman’s, said the Wausau Daily Herald, cleaned its equipment. “There are no additional steps Zillman needs to take because these new cases happened prior to all of the cleaning, so they’re good to go,” said Burrows, quoted the Wausau Daily Herald. “We’ve taken every precaution the Health Department told us to take, and we’ve followed all of their directions,” said owner Pat Zillman.

Burrows indicated that the Health Department continues to work on locating the source of the E. coli contamination and if the outbreak began with a person or if it landed on Zillman’s equipment, reported the Wausau Daily Herald.

The cases in Michigan were discovered, said Burrows, after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services contacted other state health departments in an attempt to locate other instances of the fairly new strain, E. coli O45, explained the Wausau Daily Herald. E. coli O45 has only been studied for about a decade.

An “emerging pathogen,” considered less virulent than the dangerous and deadlier E. coli pathogen—O157:H7—typically associated with food borne outbreaks, according to Tim Monson, a microbiologist with the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene, E. coli O45 can transfer its toxins to other bacteria, quoted the Wausau Daily Herald.

E. coli typically causes diarrhea illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure. Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to serious complications and even death. Consumers should seek immediate medical care if they develop these symptoms.

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