E. Coli Injury Lawyer in New York City


What is E. Coli?

E. coli (Escherichia coli) gram-negative bacterium, that is observed in a rod shape, when viewed by an electron microscope. It was discovered by the German pediatrician, Theodor Escherich in 1885, from whence its name derives. Most of the strains of E. Coli are harmless to humans (especially considering strains of E. coli are found in the natural flora [a/k/a plant-species] present in the human gastrointestinal tract); and, they indeed confer a benefit to the human body through generation of vitamin K2, and preventing the proliferation of harmful, or pathogenic, species of bacterium in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Despite the general nature of most strains of E. coli being beneficial to the human body, some strains of E. coli, such as O157:H7, are observed as responsible for acute food poisoning; and, have been the primary impetus for many recalls of food products from produce to dried goods to meats.

If you or a loved one have believe that you or they suffer harm from contracting E. coli, as a result of the negligence of another, contact an E. coli Attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., now at (855) TOP-FIRM or complete the Free E. coli Case Evaluation form to find out how Finz & Finz, P.C., can help!

How does Food Poisoning from E. coli Contamination Occur?

As mentioned above, E. coli is, generally, not a form of bacteria that harmful to the human body, as it is present in the gut of human beings. However, when the E. coli that is present in the gastrointestinal tract of other species contaminates food which is then consumed by humans, without first eradicating the foreign E. coli through sufficient thermal exposure, and humans ingest the food that is contaminated, food poisoning often occurs.

One source of E. coli contamination has been observed as originating from the poultry processing industry. The issue has become one of paramount concern because, in that industry, where prophylactic antibiotic administration has been controversial for decades, researchers now say workers who handle “broiler chickens” in manufacturing plants are at risk of contracting drug-resistant E. coli and spreading it in communities. A broiler is a chicken raised specifically for its meat.

In fact, public health investigators at Johns Hopkins University estimate that workers in poultry factories in the United States are 32 times more likely to be colonized with E. coli that repels the antibiotic gentamicin (a drug is used to treat E. coli in both poultry and humans) than people in other lines of work.

“We are running out of antibiotics to treat human infections,” said Lance Price, who led a study evaluating antibiotic use in the broiler chicken industry.

Price theorizes that worker exposure acts as a conduit of gentamicin-resistant E. coli to communities at large. As industry workers interact with others in their communities (outside of the industry), resistant strains can spread exponentially, ultimately rendering the drug useless. “Many of these workers wear uniforms,” he said, which often are laundered at home and handled by other household members who can be exposed.

Price’s research, reported in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that gentamicin is used more than any other antibiotic. For example, birds are given antibiotics when they’re sick, to prevent illnesses, and for growth enhancement.

It gets to the consumer in much the same way, when the contamination is not eradicated prior to the infected broilers going to market. Consumers can be exposed to drug-resistant bacteria during chicken preparation, Price said, but following strict rules of hygiene, and keeping raw fowl separated from other foods, can prevent colonization.

“Any time you have organisms resistant to an antibiotic that is used in human medicine, then you have a problem,” said Kathryn Boor, who chairs the department of food science at Cornell University. However, there are dozens of E. coli strains, she added, and most are harmless. Chickens do not have or spread E. coli O157:H7, Boor underscored, a strain specific to cattle that contaminated spinach and lettuce in previous years.

What are the Signs/Symptoms of E. Coli?

Food poisoning from E. coli, for example from strain O157:H7, presents itself three to four days post-exposure.

Though it may be misdiagnosed as a myriad of conditions, from gastritis to Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome, the signs and symptoms of food poisoning from E. coli exposure include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody;
  • Abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness; and,
  • Nausea and vomiting,

If you, a family member or a friend were diagnosed or treated for E. coli, please contact an E. coli Attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., today at (855) TOP-FIRM to speak with an experienced E. Coli Attorney now or fill out the Free Case Evaluation form to the right of this page.