Salmonella is one of the most common and widespread disease-causing bacteria, resulting globally each year in tens of millions cases of Salmonellosis. In the United States alone, an estimated 1.2 million cases occur every year due to non-typhoidal Salmonellosis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, there are 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths result from infections.
Based on the most recent data, the number of incidents have decreased in recent years, but remains a public health challenge as new strains of Salmonella bacteria have developed a resistance to commonly used antimicrobials. The secondary treatments now prescribed are often less effective, more toxic, and more expensive.
Recent studies from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) indicates that up to 5 percent of Salmonella strains are resistant to five or more common antibiotics.
Many reported Salmonella infections are foodborne. The most common cause of illness is undercooked food of animal origin, most commonly beef, poultry, milk and egg products.
Any consumption of contaminated food can cause symptoms, though immunocompromised individuals are more susceptible to infection. Children under the age of 5 and adults over 65 years of age represent the most likely to contract a related illness.
Also, certain medications, such as drugs to reduce stomach acid, are known to increase the risk of Salmonella.
Illnesses related to Salmonella can range from mild discomfort to severe stomach pains. The onset of symptoms is typically anywhere from 6 to 72 hours. Symptoms present as acute gastroenteritis and include the following:
• Sudden onset of diarrhea
• Abdominal cramps
Symptoms can last for several days, and may cause serious dehydration. Infection can also lead to medium or even long-term bowel disruption. Even after symptoms improve, the bacteria can often be found in the stool for several weeks post-infection.
In the most severe cases, Salmonella infection can spread to the urine, blood, bones, joints, brain, the nervous system, and other internal organs. These invasive infections are quite dangerous and can be life-threatening.
People can contract Salmonella through several different sources, though the most common are passed via contaminated food and water. The food is most often of animal origin, though fruit and vegetables can also carry the bacteria and even processed food can be tainted. ConAgra Company paid over $11 million in fines after a 2007 incident that linked contaminated peanut butter to over 700 cases of Salmonella.
Several outbreaks and subsequent food recalls are reported each year. In 2012, 106 separate outbreaks of Salmonella in America resulted in 64 percent of all food-related hospitalizations. In 2013-14, a single outbreak linked to Foster Farms Brand chicken reached 29 states and infected over 600 persons. The outbreak strains were resistant to several commonly used antibiotics. Other recent outbreaks and recalls include the following:
• A multistate outbreak to Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake and Meal products.
• Almost 900 people were infected in 39 states by cucumbers contaminated with Salmonella in 2015. Six deaths were reported. Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce and Custom Produce Sales both recalled products.
• Chipotle Mexican Grill removed contaminated tomatoes from 22 store locations after more than 60 people reported serious infection. Chipotle has been investigated for several food-related outbreaks over the last year.
• Thirteen people in 10 states fell ill after consuming JEM Raw Brand sprouted nut butter spreads. The company recalled products on December 2, 2015.
• On August 27, 2015, Kapowsin Meats issued a recall of over half a million pounds of pork products after almost 200 people in 5 states were treated for multidrug resistant Salmonella.
In 2018, large egg recalls and raw beef recalls sickened dozens of consumers.
A small number of Salmonella patients develop pain in their joints. This is called reactive arthritis. It can last for months or even years, and may lead to chronic arthritis.
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.
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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: