Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. The majority of cases occur as isolated events, and can be short unpleasant illnesses, or they may lead to severe complications in individuals. Infections can be fatal, resulting in an estimated 120 deaths each year.
Campylobacteriosis, caused directly by bacteria, is an infectious disease and one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates Campylobacter infections affect more than 1.3 million people every year. Most cases are not part of recognized outbreaks, but can be damaging nonetheless.
Certain organisms exist in abundance and are commonly found in the intestinal tracts of cats, dogs, poultry, cattle, swine, rodents, birds, and some humans. The bacteria pass through the feces and cycle through the environment. The bacteria can be found in contaminated, untreated water.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio personal injury attorney with experience in injuries due to food poisoning. The Lyon Firm has represented plaintiffs nationwide in foodborne illness claims.
People with Campylobacter infection usually present with serious diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. As in other forms of food poisoning, the diarrhea may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
Symptoms of infection usually occur within 2 to 10 days after the bacteria are ingested. In some severe cases, physicians prescribe antibiotics. The illness typically lasts about a week. Symptoms may include:
Two age groups are most commonly affected by Campylobacter: children under 5 years of age and young adults aged 15-29. Anyone may become ill but infants, young children, pregnant women, and older adults are at a higher risk for foodborne illness, as are people with weakened immune systems.
In people with weakened immune systems, blood disorders, AIDS, or people receiving chemotherapy, food poisoning occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a life-threatening infection.
Infection caused by Campylobacter bacteria is usually caused by consuming unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked meat or poultry, or other contaminated food and water. The bacteria can exist in the intestinal tracts of people without causing any symptoms or illness, but studies show that consuming only a few hundred Campylobacter cells can cause the illness.
With good sanitary practices on farms, food processing plants, and distribution chains, Campylobacter can be controlled and minimize the opportunity for the dangerous bacteria to spread among animals and foods. Regular pasteurization of milk and the treatment of drinking water supplies eliminate common routes of transmission.
Contamination in food processing plants is almost always preventable. Food processing companies are accountable for following sanitary guidelines that control the spread of Campylobacter and other bacteria.
Most people with a Campylobacter infection recover completely within a week, and infection rarely results in long-term consequences. However, about 1 in every 1,000 illnesses leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS occurs when a person’s immune system is triggered by an earlier infection, such as a Campylobacter infection and the antibodies the body creates against Campylobacter attack one’s nerve cells.
Symptoms of GBS appear several weeks after diarrheal illness. GBS can lead to muscle weakness or paralysis that lasts for a few weeks to several years, and often requires intensive medical care. Most people recover fully, though some suffer permanent nerve damage, and some have died of GBS. As many as 40 percent of GBS cases in the United States may be triggered by an infection.
Infections may lead to meningitis, urinary tract infections, or reactive arthritis. Some studies have estimated that one to 5 percent of people with Campylobacter develop arthritis. Symptoms, which appear on average 18 days after infection, include inflammation of the joints, eyes, or reproductive organs.
Other complications of food poisoning infections may include cases of appendicitis or infections in other parts of the body like the abdominal cavity, heart, central nervous system, gall bladder, urinary tract, or the blood stream.
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The Lyon Firm is a highly-rated Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer who has represented thousands of individuals in personal injury claims both locally and nationally.
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.
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.
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.
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: