E. coli Attorney Pritzker Calls for Better Animal Exhibit Safety after the North Carolina State Fair E. coli Outbreak is Linked to Animals in the Kelley Building

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20 people who attended the North Carolina State Fair in October of 2011 contracted E. coli infections, and the Kelley Building that housed animal exhibits was the source, according to NC health officials. “Despite the frequency and severity of these kinds of cases, event operators and participants often fail to take precautions necessary to prevent serious illness,” said Fred Pritzker, an attorney who represents E. coli victims nationwide.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Despite the frequency and severity of these kinds of cases, event operators and participants often fail to take precautions necessary to prevent serious illness.

The North Carolina State Fair E.coli outbreak is the latest in a string of preventable tragedies at events where contact with animals is part of the entertainment, according to Attorney Fred Pritzker, who represents E. coli victims nationwide.

At least 27 people who attended the North Carolina fair in October of this year contracted E. coli infections, according to the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH). Five of them required hospitalization, including three children who suffered kidney failure and other symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of E. coli poisoning that can develop in young children.

“Despite the frequency and severity of these kinds of cases, event operators and participants often fail to take precautions necessary to prevent serious illness,” said Pritzker. “The safety and well-being of children who attend these events should be a top priority.”

The likely source of contamination is the Kelley Building, a permanent structure on the fairgrounds where sheep, goats and pigs competing in livestock shows were house during the fair, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. None of the other exhibits, activities or food vendors at the fair were linked to the outbreak.

When NCPH closed the epidemiologic investigation on November 10, the victims from eight counties were as follows: Wake (13), Sampson (6), Cleveland (1), Durham (1), Johnston (1) Lenoir (1), Orange (2) Wilson (2). One of the victims was a two-year-old who spent 16 days in the hospital battling kidney failure and other symptoms of HUS.

This is the second time in seven years that an E. coli outbreak has been linked to an animal exhibit at North Carolina State Fair. A 2004 E. coli outbreak sickened 108 people, 15 of whom developed HUS. And North Carolina is not alone.

In the last 16 months, there have been at least five E. coli outbreaks associated with fairs. In July, one child died after visiting a petting zoo at a county fair in Indiana. In August 2010, a toddler developed HUS after visiting a Wisconsin petting zoo.

"E. coli poisoning is one of the most common diseases associated with events where contact with animals is part of the entertainment," said Pritzker, whose firm is currently representing the family of a child who contracted E. coli poisoning from a petting zoo.

E. coli is a bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in severe cases, HUS-kidney failure. Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible.
Complications of E. coli-HUS can include hemolytic anemia, abnormal kidney function, renal failure, gall stones, pancreatitis, central nervous system problems, seizures, coma, stroke, encephalopathy, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, cardio myopathy, cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure, cortical blindness, thrombocytopenia, paralysis and death.

Victims of E. coli poisoning may require hospitalization and suffer from long lasting or permanent medical conditions. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team of E. coli attorneys can help victims and their families recover expenses, including medical expenses and the lost wages of parents.

Attorney Fred Pritzker can be reached at 1-888-377-8900 (TOLL FREE) or through his websites, http://www.ecolilawyer.com and http://www.pritzkerlaw.com. Mr. Pritzker represents E. coli victims throughout the United States. He recently won a confidential settlement for a North Carolina family whose loved one died from complications of an E. coli infection. Mr. Pritzker has won millions for food poisoning victims and has appeared on national and local news programs to discuss foodborne illness lawsuits and food safety. He is listed in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in America. PritzkerOlsen, P.A. has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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