Shigella Food Poisoning

Shigellosis (also referred to as bacillary dysentery) is an infectious disease that causes bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. Shigellosis is caused by a group of bacteria called shigella and affects about 25,000 people in the United States every year. In severe cases of shigellosis, the infected individuals can experience chronic arthritis, renal failure, dehydration and coma — serious conditions that can have fatal consequences. Shigellosis can be passed from person to person, and it can be contracted from contaminated water and food poisoning. Some of the largest recent shigellosis outbreaks occurred in 2007, when 44 persons became sick after eating at a Souplantation restaurant, and in 2004, when the airline catering company Gate Gourmet was responsible for infecting several hundred passengers.

Shigellosis: Causes

Shigellosis is a highly contagious disease, and a very small amount of the shigella bacteria can cause the onset of shigellosis symptoms. Once an individual contracts shigellosis, he or she remains highly contagious for several weeks after symptoms have subsided. Improper hygiene during this time can lead to the spread of infection to other people who come in close contact with the shigella carrier. Proper hygiene is especially important among restaurant chefs because lack of thorough hand washing can allow shigella and other bacteria to contaminate the food served to hundreds of patrons. For example, in 2007, more than 40 persons contracted shigella after eating at a Souplantation restaurant in Pasadena, California. It was later determined that the likely source of the outbreak was a sick restaurant chef.

Consumers can also contract shigella from fruits and vegetables grown in fields contaminated with untreated wastewater. In addition, fruits and vegetables can become infected during the picking and packaging process if the employees do not follow proper hygiene practices. Another source of shigella infection is contaminated water, such as that found in improperly maintained pools and water play areas at childcare centers. Individuals can also develop shigella after swimming in contaminated reservoirs or accidentally swallowing water from them.

Shigellosis: Legal Recourse

Consumers who become infected with shigellosis after consuming contaminated foods might be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, physical and emotional suffering, lost wages and diminished quality of life. Because food manufacturers have a responsibility to provide consumers with reasonably safe products, failure to adhere to this standard can make them financially liable for any damages incurred by consumers harmed due to consumption of their respective products. For example, after the 2004 shigellosis outbreak that sickened hundreds of passengers returning from Honolulu, many of them filed personal injury lawsuits against the airline’s catering company, Gate Gourmet. The catering company was able to settle the suits; however, the amount of the settlement was not made public.

Shigella Food Poisoning: Legal Help

If you believe that your shigella infection was caused by a defective food product, you might be entitled to compensation for your financial, physical and psychological damages. For a thorough case review and reliable legal advice, contact the law offices of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz at (844) 794-7402. The highly skilled Pensacola, Florida lawyers of AWKO Law have extensive experience negotiating and litigating personal injury cases arising from shigella, E. coli, cholera, salmonella and listeria food poisoning. They can help you learn about your legal rights and initiate the necessary legal action.