Raw milk or animals may be cause of e. coli illness in Tennessee children -Knoxville E. coli Outbreak

Ten children have been treated for illnesses caused by e. coli bacteria in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area. Four of those children, all under the age of four, are in serious condition in the intensive care unit at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The cause of their illnesses is still unknown, although Knox County Health Department officials have identified raw milk exposure and farm animal exposure as two potential sources.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against drinking raw milk. Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, e. coli, and listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses.

These harmful bacteria can seriously affect the health of anyone who drinks raw milk, or eats foods made from raw milk. However, the bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, including older adults, pregnant women, and childre

E. coli contamination can also be transmitted through contact with an infected animal (even something as innocent as petting an animal at the county fair). The best way to avoid infection is to practice good hygiene.

Symptoms of e. coli contamination include diarrhea, fever, nausea, and stomach cramping. Many individuals don’t realize they’re infected with E. coli and opt not to seek medical care. Sometimes, failure to obtain proper medical attention can result in life-threatening complications. Each year, approximately five to ten percent of people diagnosed with an E. coli infection experience hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a deadly complication.

The Knox County Health Department is continuing to investigate the illnesses associated with the e. coli outbreak, to determine the specific source and the connection between the affected children.

For more information about e. coli contamination and the situation in Knoxville, contact the food poisoning lawyers at 1-888-335-4901.