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The Growing Dangers of Zoonotic –Zoonosis Pathogens: Recent San Diego Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreak Takes the Life of One Young Hero

Two terms that have entered the English daily lexicon of late include “Zoonotic” and “Zoonosis.”  Both terms relate to the spread of diseases between the human and animal kingdoms – a topic that at first glance may seem a bit academic to the general public.  But they only seem academic until they become epidemic – think of the Black Plague that killed as many as 30 to 60% of the population of some European nations, or a total of between 20 and 200 million people or the more recent outbreaks of Ebola have been traced to either primates or bats.  And most recently, a young child was killed (and others seriously sickened) after contracting  E. coli from a petting zoo in San Diego.

Unfortunately, zoonotic episodes have been on the rise in both numbers and intensity, with viral outbreaks, bacterial outbreaks, fungal outbreaks, or parasitic outbreaks happening every year.  Recent outbreaks, that have been reported on  a great deal, include the more common-place outbreaks of pathogens like a salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles, a salmonella outbreak linked to backyard chicks, salmonella outbreak linked to other small animals, E. coli outbreaks linked to petting zoos, or common household pets like dogs and cats.  There are also more and more cases of transfers of potentially deadly pathogens such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (commonly referred to as “BSE”), avian influenza, the Nipah virus, brucellosis, ebola, rabies (often carried by bats, dogs, and other animals), and parasitic diseases which can include cysticercosis/taeniasis or echinococcosis/hydatidosis.

Some outbreaks cause minor injury, while others have proven fatal or life-changing, such as when an E. coli illness results in Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

The reality is that zoonotic diseases infect tens of thousands of victims in the U.S. alone every year. And the number is growing with deforestation, increases in the human populations, decreases in animal habitat, global warming, domestication and trade in wild animals, and changes in cultural and food habits among humans.  According to the CDC as many as 11 of the most recent 12 outbreaks of infectious disease that posed serious human health consequences may have originated in animals.

Common carriers include, but are no way limited to, the following: 

  1. Cats who carry the plague, anthrax, cowpox;
  2. Dogs who carry tapeworms, Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever;
  3. Pigs that carry influenza or Brucellosis;
  4. Rabbits that carry the Q-Fever;
  5. Goats who carry E. coli; and
  6. Sheep that carry tick-borne encephalitis.

Those most at risk include, rather obviously, farmers, those who raise and care for animals, veterinarians, and knackery workers. But increasingly, due to the commercialization of small pets including chicks, salamanders, turtles, pigs, Guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, snakes, and the prevalence of petting zoos, more an d more people (including minors) are being exposed to these disease and becoming ill from handing these animals.

How to Prevent the Spread of Zoonotic Disease:

Preventing the spread of Zoonotic disease requires insight into how they are spread.  According to scientists who study Zoonotic diseases, there are four major pathways to the spread of these communicable diseases.  These include: Direct contact (this can include sheering sheep or petting a sick animal); Indirect contact (this can include contact with feces, water in which animals have been swimming, or contaminate surfaces); Vector-borne (these include conduits such as fleas, mosquitos, or ticks who deliver the pathogen); and Foodborne (this includes eating animal products or food contaminated with animal product).

Each of these paths to communicable disease can be reduced through affirmative action, such as practicing good personal hygiene.  This may include carefully monitoring children at a petting zoos and making them thoroughly wash or sanitize their hands after petting animals – this is one step that might have helped prevent the tragic death of a child after petting animals in a petting zoo in San Diego and contracting E. coli.   Treatment of scratches, wounds or bites is another way to prevent the spread of these communicable disease.  This can include treating with Bactrim or alcohol.  The use of barriers, such as aprons, vests, mouth covers, or gloves can also reduce the spread of zoonotic infectious disease.  Proper cleaning of work spaces, animal and food preparation sites can also help reduce zoonotic episodes – another practice that might have prevented the deadly San Diego Petting Zoo tragedy.  Vector-borne outbreaks can be reduced by proper pest control measures, like preventing fleas, mosquitos, etc. from reproducing or spreading in areas where animals are kept.

For more information about food borne outbreaks, to discuss zoonotic outbreaks or to speak to a food poisoning lawyer, call 11-888-335-4901.,


Leroy, Eric M. et al. “Human Ebola Outbreak Resulting from Direct Exposure to Fruit Bats in Luebo, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2007.” Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 9.6 (2009): 723-28.

Allela, Loïs, et al. “Ebola Virus Antibody Prevalence in Dogs and Human Risk.” Emerg Infect Dis 11.3 (2005): 385-90. “The zoonotic threat: Curbing pet-to-people infections.” Dog World October 1999.

“Zoonoses.” Agricultural Research February 2000.

“Zoonotic Diseases.” Medical Laboratory Observer March 2004: 12.

Bermejo, M., et al. “Ebola Outbreak Killed 5000 Gorillas.” Science 314.5805 (2006): 1564

La Hacienda Food Poisoning Lawyer: Mexican restaurant closes after 25 people become ill

A Mexican restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, has closed as public health officials investigate a potential outbreak of foodborne illnesses among its customers. Public Health Madison and Dane County has received reports from 25 people that they became sick after eating at La Hacienda located at 515 S. Park Street in Madison.

The investigation is ongoing, so the exact number of people affected by a foodborne illness linked to La Hacienda has yet to be determined. The cause of the illnesses has not been identified either. Health investigators are working with restaurant management to make corrections needed to rectify the issue, but do not know yet when the restaurant will re-open.  In large part, says La Hacienda Food Poisoning Lawyer Ron Simon, this depends on whether they can quickly identify the pathogen that caused the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness each year. Among those, 128,00 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Common symptoms of foodborne diseases are nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, but vary depending on the cause and the severity of the contamination.

According to La Hacienda Food Poisoning Lawyer Ron Simon, the most common sources of food poisoning are bacteria or viruses, thought here are instances where parasites, harmful toxins, or chemicals can be the cause. When food is not cooked to the proper temperature, not stored safely, or cross-contamination occurs, bacteria such as salmonella or e. coli can grow, causing those who consume the contaminated food to become sick.  Food safety protocol and proper hygiene procedures for food handlers can help to prevent foodborne illness.

La Hacienda Food Poisoning Lawyer: Updates to Follow as Investigation Continues

In the case of the illnesses apparently caused by food served at La Hacienda restaurant in Madison, health investigators have not identified a specific bacteria or toxin that may have caused customers to become sick.  While it is very possible that no pathogen will be identified, authorities will wait until it is evident that no new cases have surfaced and that La Hacienda is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, before allowing it to reopen.

For more information about the La Hacienda Food Poisoning closure, or to speak to a La Hacienda Food Poisoning Lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.

E. coli Attorney: “Kentucky e. coli outbreak source narrowed to beef, chicken, and cheese, but which is the guilty conduit?”
The e. coli outbreak that initially impacted 20 people across the state of Kentucky has now sickened at least 44 people. The outbreak has also spread to parts of Tennessee, Georgia, and Ohio. Health officials from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services believe they have narrowed the source of the infections to beef, chicken, and sliced American cheese. Initial reports identified an unknown type of food distribution service as a possible common factor among those who became ill, possibly fast food.

Tony Coveny, PhD, Infectious Disease Attorney

Investigators have determined that the strain of bacteria is e. coli O103, which is less common than the strain that usually causes foodborne disease illnesses, O157:H7. With 44 cases of illnesses, Kentucky now has the largest outbreak of e. coli O103 in the US since 2000. Six people who became ill from e. coli have been hospitalized.
Health officials may increase the number of illnesses that can be connected with beef, chicken, and sliced American cheese e. coli contamination. It typically takes 2-3 weeks from the time someone becomes ill, when they seek medical attention, for the illnesses to be reported to the health department.
According to one E. coli attorney:

“beef and chicken are obvious culprits when raw, as most meats  require cooking or another kill-step to destroy bacteria.  But cheese, unless unpasteurized, and processed or prepared meats, should be free of any pathogen like e. coli O103.”

The illnesses have been reported across the state of Kentucky. At least five cases occurred in Fayette County, which includes one of Kentucky’s largest cities, Lexington.
Kentucky health department officials are coordinating with investigators in Tennessee, Georgia, and Ohio, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine the source of the growing numbers of illnesses related to e. coli contamination.
TO speak to one of the experienced e. coli attorneys at this law firm, or discuss an e. coli lawsuit or e. coli outbreak, call 1-888-335-4901.

New beef recall announced after e. coli testing:  Raw Beef E. coli lawsuit filed
Almost 5,000 pounds of beef heel and chuck tender products have been recalled for potential e. coli contamination after traceback activities following routine U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) testing. Aurora Packing Company, Inc., based in North Aurora, Illinois, recalled 4,838 pounds of the beef products because they may pose a health hazard to consumers.
The potentially contaminated beef heel and chuck tender products were produced and packed on February 27, 2019, and shipped for institutional use in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Recalled products include:

Institutions that may have these products in their freezers should not use them. E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
THere are a number of illnesses linked to E. coli in beef, that have led to a number of Beef E. coli Lawsuits
For more information about a raw beef e. coli lawsuit, or to speak to an e. coli lawyer. Call 1-888-335-4901.

Ron Simon files nation’s first Cyclospora Lawsuit against McDonald’s following massive outbreak of Cyclsopsora.  The outbreak has led to a major recall by McDonald’s of salads sold at about 3000 of its locations.  The full extent of the outbreak remains unknown.  The lawsuit is on behalf of Jennifer Smith, whose case was featured on NBC Nightly News by Lester Holt on July 13th.  It has been filed in Cook County, where McDonald’s is headquartered.  Jennifer Smith was sickened after eating numerous salads from her McDonald’s in Washington, Illinois.
According to the CDC, McDonald’s salads are the likely source of 61 illnesses in 7 states – Illinois and Iowa Health agencies have bigger numbers!
A multi-state outbreak of illnesses related to Cyclospora has been linked to salads at McDonald’s restaurants by officials in Illinois, Iowa, and by federal officials with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). State,  federal, and local officials are working together to investigate multiple cases of illnesses across seven states – and while the states are looking at larger numbers of Cyclospora illnesses, the CDC can already confirm that at least 61 people have become sick with laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Two hospitalizations have been reported.
Overwhelmingly, the food poisoning victims stated that they had consumed salad products from McDonald’s restaurants prior to becoming ill.
The FDA is investigating to determine the exact source of the contamination. There are multiple ingredients in the McDonald’s salads and the contamination may have occurred at any point during the distribution and supply of those ingredients.
McDonald’s has voluntarily stopped serving salads at restaurants in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri while the investigation continues. The company also plans to switch to a different supplier for its salads.
Most people infected with Cyclospora develop diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after eating a salad at McDonald’s, please contact the food poisoning lawyers at 1-888-335-4901 to learn more about your legal options.

Vibrio Tainted Crab Alert: Crab meat from Venezuela possibly contaminated
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to consumers that crab meat from Venezuela may be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Consumers should not eat this fresh crab meat, to avoid potential illness. As of July 12, there have been twelve reported cases of illness related to the contaminated crab meat, with four people hospitalized.
Crab meat from Venezuela is sold to consumers in plastic tubs and may be labeled as “pre-cooked.” The crab meat may also be served in restaurants. The FDA is urging consumers to ask where the crab meat is from, particularly when ordering at a restaurant. All crab meat from Venezuela should be avoided, regardless of whether it appears to be fine, as food contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus may actually look, smell, and taste normal.
The twelve reported cases of illness related to crab meat contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus have occurred in: Maryland (8), Louisiana (2), Pennsylvania (1), and the District of Columbia (1). The FDA is working with state and local officials in these locations to continue their investigation into the source of the contamination. They have confirmed that four of the cases are matches to the outbreak strain.
Illnesses from the contaminated crab meat began on April 1 and have been reported through July 3. As with most outbreaks, additional cases may continue to be reported even as the FDA is working to ensure the crab meat is removed from retail and restaurant distribution.
Symptoms of Vibrio parahaemolyticus include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever and stomach pain. Diarrhea tends to be watery and occasionally bloody. If you have consumed contaminated crab meat from Venezuela and are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the food poisoning lawyers at 1-888-335-4901 to learn more about your legal options.

4 ill after eating at Nintendo of America cafés
An outbreak of e. coli has affected consumers of cafés located on the campus of Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington. King County health investigators are reporting that four people became ill after eating at Café Mario on multiple days during June 18–22, 2018; one ill person also ate at I Love Sushi on June 19 and June 26, 2018, which is a food establishment that operates out of Café Mario once a week. Café Mario is not open to the public.
One person has been hospitalized after eating at the café. The exact source of the e. coli contamination has not yet been identified. Investigators have found food safety issues at Café Mario, including inadequate hand washing practices and improper cold holding temperatures of food. At I Love Sushi, potential risk factors were also identified and discussed, including improper temperature storage of foods.
The illnesses occurred from June 25 through June 28, according to health investigators. Café Mario and I Love Sushi were both closed on July 5 and will remain closed until approved to reopen by public health officials. Both restaurants will have to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection before reopening.
Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing e. coli (STEC) include diarrhea (which often becomes bloody) and stomach cramps, with mild or no fever. Illness typically lasts several days and people can spread infection to others even after symptoms resolve.
Anyone who ate at Café Mario and I Love Sushi at Nintendo of America from June 11, 2018 to July 5, 2018, and who developed diarrhea (especially bloody diarrhea) within 10 days, should contact the food poisoning lawyers at 1-888-335-4901 to discuss legal options.

The Food Safety Blog Recent Outbreaks and Recalls Across the United States