BOTULISM
FOOD POISONING


Personal Injury Lawyer Reviewing  Foodborne Illness Cases for injured plaintiffs Nationwide
Nationwide Success

Botulism is a rare and serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death. This toxin is made by Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii bacteria. These bacteria can be spread by food and sometimes by other means.

The bacteria that make the botulinum toxin are found naturally in many places. These bacteria make spores, which act like protective coatings. The spores help the bacteria survive in different environments, even in extreme conditions. The spores usually do not cause people to become sick, but under certain conditions, these spores can grow and develop into a lethal toxin.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio personal injury attorney with experience in injuries due to food poisoning. The Lyon Firm has represented plaintiffs nationwide in foodborne illness claims.


Common Sources of Foodborne Botulism


The most common sources of botulism are homemade foods that have been improperly preserved, canned, or fermented. If they are improperly stored, store-bought foods can also be contaminated with the botulinum toxin.
Home-canned vegetables are the most common cause of botulism outbreaks in the U.S. each year.

From 1996 to 2014, there were over 200 outbreaks reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of the 145 outbreaks that were caused by home-prepared foods, around 30 percent were from home-canned vegetables. Outbreaks often occur because home canners do not follow canning instructions, fail to use pressure canners, or ignore signs of food spoilage.

Particular affected foods include home-canned foods with a low acid content, fermented fish, herb-infused oils, baked potatoes in aluminum foil, cheese sauce, bottled garlic, honey, corn syrup, and foods held warm for extended periods of time.


Common Symptoms Associated with Botulism


Symptoms of botulism usually start with weakness of the muscles that control the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. This weakness may spread to the neck, arms, torso, and legs. Botulism also can weaken the muscles involved in breathing, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death. Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Facial weakness
  • General muscle weakness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps
  • Paralysis
    Infants with botulism may show the following signs and symptoms:
  • Appearing lethargic
  • Feeding poorly
  • Are constipated
  • Have a weak cry
  • Have poor muscle tone

Almost all symptoms result from muscle paralysis caused by the toxin. When untreated, the disease progresses and symptoms worsen and can cause total paralysis of certain muscles, including those used in breathing and those in the arms and legs.

People with botulism may not show all symptoms at once. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. In rare cases, symptoms may begin as soon as 6 hours after ingesting toxins or up to 10 days later. The incubation period for infants may be 3 to 30 days.

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ABOUT THE LYON FIRM

Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.

NO COST UNLESS WE WIN

The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

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A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

Serious injuries and accidents often result through no fault of the injured party, yet the injured victim suffers from life altering physical, mental and financial losses. Such economic and human losses can have devastating financial consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through personal injury lawsuits.

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Questions about Food Poisoning Cases

Why Should I File a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

According to the most recent data collected by the CDC, the majority (64 percent) of serious food poisoning outbreaks are caused by food prepared at restaurants, catering events or banquet facilities.

A legal claim against a company is likely to get a fast settlement if you hire an experience personal injury attorney. Filing a lawsuit indicates to the company that you are prepared to prove with sufficient evidence that their negligence caused a serious illness.

A legal claim also communicates to the company that you have an attorney that is willing to fight the company for however long it takes to win rightful compensation.

Once an injury claim is filed, an attorney can take legal steps to obtain relevant corporate and health department documents to help bolster a food poisoning case. Without a lawsuit, it may be difficult to get important company information. At this point, an attorney can interview restaurant employees, management, and other people involved to get additional information.

If you fall seriously ill, you may not be the only one. You may be part of an outbreak that must be contained for the sake of public health safety. Local health departments should know if you are part of an outbreak. People sickened in an outbreak may be able to seek settlements from the company that owns the restaurant.

Whether you get food poisoning from a restaurant or from contaminated food directly from a distributor, contact an attorney to find out if you have a case to sue for rightful compensation.

How Can I identify My Food Contamination?

Food poisoning occurs when the contaminated food enters the production line — any point during the growing, harvesting, processing, storage, shipping or preparation of the food product. Often cross-contamination and national or international distribution multiply the impacts of a single food outbreak.

The most hazardous culprits include raw foods of animal origin, such as raw meat, poultry, shellfish, uncooked eggs, and unpasteurized milk. Raw fruits and vegetables can also be a concern. Even foods like corn or cereals can contain high levels of mycotoxins, produced by mold on grain.

To protect your legal rights after falling ill from food poisoning, it is important that a medical professional test a urine, blood and stool sample to determine the specific pathogen (bacteria, virus or parasite) that made you sick.

This can narrow down where and how you were affected. Bacterial cells must be sent to a laboratory for genetic testing, and the results will be crucial evidence for a plaintiff. If you have any questions about the important lab testing or legal procedure, contact The Lyon Firm for information.

If the DNA patterns match, this is important evidence that can lead to a successful legal claim. Once you have medical evidence on your side, a personal injury attorney can advise you how to proceed against the negligent party that caused the illness.

Leftover food is sometimes tested to find out if it is contaminated. In some disease outbreaks, lawyers and health officials have gathered leftover food suspected of being the source of an illness. It is important to talk to a lawyer before throwing out leftover food from a restaurant.

How Can I Treat Food Poisoning?

Specific treatment for food poisoning depends on the severity and the source of the illness, if known. For most people, the illness resolves without treatment within a few days, though some types of food poisoning can last much longer. Treatment may include:

  • Rehydration/replacement of fluids and electrolytes—minerals that maintain the balance of fluids in your body are lost in persistent diarrhea and need to be replaced. Some patients with severe diarrhea or vomiting may need hospitalization, where they can receive intravenous salts and fluids to treat dehydration.
  • Antibiotics—doctors prescribe antibiotics with certain kinds of bacterial food poisoning. As a general rule, the sooner the treatment begins, the better the results. However, antibiotics may actually worsen symptoms in certain kinds of viral or bacterial food poisoning so it is crucial to identify the affecting pathogen first.

 


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