The Texas State Health Department is investigating 10 cases of dangerous E. coli poisoning at a Brazos County Mexican restaurant that happened over Mother’s Day weekend. The two youngest victims, 4-year-old Jack an 18-month -old Noah Melton were transferred from the hospital in College Station to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston with a particularly virulent strain of the illness. The two children have received dialysis, blood transfusions and constant care to help them battle against this life-threatening illness. Texas Children’s hospital officials confirmed that both children have been released this week. The boys’ father is concerned over the long term issues that his children will face in life, but he is grateful they are out of the woods for now.
Health Department officials say that the Melton brothers and other confirmed cases from the restaurant have the 0157:H7 strand of E. Coli. Experts say that that this strand can cause kidney failure and even death. The Texas State Health Department have isolated the cause as being from contaminated beef that was served at the Coco Loco restaurant in College Station.
E. coli O157:H7 is one of several hundred strains of the bacterium E. coli. Even though most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, the E. coli O157:H7 strain produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness. Infection often causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps; kidney damage, kidney failure and even death.
The best way to avoid E. coli is to take precautions to prevent or avoid the disease. These prevention tips include:
- Washing your hands thoroughly before preparing or handling food.
- Thorough washing of all fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten in raw form.
- Avoiding the consumption of undercooked meat. Cook ground meat until the thickest portion of the meat reaches the temperature of 160° F (71° C); poultry should be cooked until the thickest portion reaches 165° F (74° C).
- Avoiding cross-contamination of meats to other foods. Make certain to wash utensils after handling uncooked or raw meat before using them on other foods.
- Keeping food preparation surfaces – such as cutting boards and countertops in your kitchen clean. Use hot soapy water or a spray disinfectant. Wash all dishes, utensils and containers that come into contact with food thoroughly. Make certain to remember to clean places such as refrigerator shelves, sinks and handles clean as well.
- Drinking fruit juices that have been pasteurized.
- Paying close attention to local and national news reports about the potential of contaminated food. Take it seriously.
If you or a loved one has contracted E. coli poisoning from a negligent restaurant and have received injury, give our offices a call to discuss your case. It is important to have good legal representative who has years of experience with such cases. More than likely, after such an illness there will be hospital and other medical bills, costs of aftercare, in addition to loss of income – especially if you are the parents of a child was made ill. Compensation for E. coli personal injury expenses, pain and suffering, including actual physical pain, disability, loss of quality of life and emotional pain is possible. We are here to help you and your family.