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Pre-packed salad link to E.Coli outbreak

The BBC has reported that 40 people in the UK have been hit with E.Coli, with the cause believed to be prepacked salads bought from a supermarket chain, although this is yet to be confirmed. The number of people struck down by the bug include 7 confirmed cases in Cheshire and Merseyside. The cases were confirmed between 29 July and 12 August this year. It is believed that two salads with a shared ingredient are the cause of the outbreak, and that the ingredient would have been sourced from a supplier that uses 3 farms for its ingredients.

Public Health England have warned people to be vigilant about the spread of E.Coli, and has urged people to wash their hands frequently, which is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. E.coli can be picked up after contact with animals and foods.

E Coli 0157 is a deadly bacteria which has now, since the Godstone farm outbreak, become a notifiable disease. As a result of that cluster outbreaks are more readily recognised by those treating victims and this can lead to better recovery rates. Whilst E Coli is difficult to treat, the administation of antibiotics can do more harm than good and it is important for the clinicians to know what they are dealing with.

Not all E Coli is dangerous. We carry it in our gut. There are however a few strains that are, E Coli 0157 is named as the culprit in the recent outbreak in Northern Ireland where over 200 people are thought to have been infected at one restaurant. Whether you catch it at a farm or from food, the consequences are potentially very severe. The bacteria has to be ingested but the number of bacteria that you need to ingest to become ill is tiny compared to the number of salmonella bacteria that you need to ingest.

Fieldfisher have had extensive dealings with e-coli cases and the potential devastating consequences Last year we saw a resolution to the cases that resulted from the E. Coli outbreak at Godstone Farm, which resulted in some 93 people being exposed to the bacteria. Fieldfisher fought for substantial settlements for all children and, importantly, settled the cases for the most seriously injured children on a provisional basis which allows them to return to court should they suffer further illness and in particular renal failure.

If you have been affected by this outbreak and would like to have a discussion about how we can help please contact Jill Greenfield or Jennifer Bradley.

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