If you’re sick, stay at home: 14 sick, 1 dead at SC daycare, family settles $1M wrongful death claim over E. coli

The family of a two-year-old who contracted E. coli from a South Carolina day care has settled a wrongful death claim for $1 million.

Myles MayfieldCourt records show the family of 2-year-old Myles Mayfield settled the case Monday.

An attorney for the boy’s family tells local media that Myles got sick May 26 and tested positive for E. coli a few days later. Attorney Eric Hageman says the Learning Vine in Greenwood had not told parents a teacher had been sick from E. coli earlier that month.

Health officials say at least eight cases of E. coli were traced to the Learning Vine.

Center officials didn’t immediately comment on the settlement. Myles’ father said in a statement the family was glad to hold the day care accountable.

Ohio woman with mother in coma sues Dole following Listeria-in-lettuce outbreak

An Ohio woman has filed a lawsuit against the Dole Fresh Vegetables company after claiming tainted salad put her mother in a coma.

listeria4Health officials have reported that 18 Americans and 11 Canadians have been stricken with listeriosis linked to a Dole processing plant in Springfield.

Four have died.

Constance Georgostathis has filed suit against Dole after claiming a salad mix tainted with Listeria placed her mother, Kiki Christofield, in a coma.

According to a news release from Georgostathis’ attorney, Georgostathis bought the salad from a Kroger on late January. On Jan. 23, Christofield began to feel sick and by Jan. 26 she reportedly was experiencing extreme head and neck pain, confusion and and altered mental state. She entered a comatose state on Jan. 31 at Bethesda North Hospital near Cincinnati.

The Dayton Daily News adds that Dole Fresh Vegetables officials declined to comment late Monday afternoon, citing the pending litigation. The company also declined to provide further updates about their investigation into the outbreak or if and when the Springfield facility might re-open.

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who’s representing the family, said he isn’t aware of any similar suits filed in relation to the outbreak.

“Listeria in bagged salad is pretty unusual,” Marler said. “One of the things we’re seeing a lot more of is it has partly to do with there are a lot more people who are immune-compromised and people who are elderly, and that’s unfortunately what listeria targets.”

Lab tests performed by the Ohio Department of Health linked the outbreak to packaged salads produced in Springfield.


60 sickened: Lawsuit filed in Wash. fair E. coli outbreak

The Bellingham Herald reports that the families of six children sickened in the E. coli outbreak at the Milk Makers Fest last April are suing the organizer of the event, the organization behind the Lynden fairgrounds, and the Lynden School District.

handwash.UK.petting.zoo.09A total of 60 people likely were ill, according to a report issued by the CDC in October.

The lawsuit is being filed in Whatcom County Superior Court against the Whatcom County Dairy Women, Northwest Washington Fair Association and the Lynden School District.

It argues that the organizations failed to protect children from being infected by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, the strain that sickened them, because they didn’t follow established public health rules and guidelines, including from the National Association of State Public Heath Veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such measures are meant to reduce illness in people who come into contact with farm animals.

“Why don’t you do what the law says you should do and what public health has indicated works?” said attorney Bruce Clark, who represents the families, in an interview.

He said there was an enormous wealth of information that showed this outbreak could have been prevented. “It’s a darn shame it happened,” Clark said.

Attorneys for the organizations couldn’t be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

About 1,325 Whatcom County first-grade students, plus the teachers and parents who accompanied them, from all school districts in Whatcom County went to the Milk Makers Fest April 21-23 at the Northwest Washington Fair & Event Center in Lynden. The festival had been going on for 22 years by then.

The event was designed to introduce young students to farming. It also gave them a chance to pet farm animals, including small horses, sheep, rabbits, chickens and a calf. There was a hay maze and scavenger hunt as well.

People who helped set up and take down the event — on April 20 and 24 — also were among those who were sickened. Some of those who attended the event later spread it to others who hadn’t, including family members.

Of the total number of people who were ill, 25 were confirmed through tests and 35 were probable. Eleven were hospitalized. Six developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication. No one died.

The organizations also didn’t make sure all children washed their hands with soap and water after leaving the dairy barn and before eating or drinking, nor were they told to keep their fingers out of their mouths until they washed their hands, according to the lawsuit.

The CDC report in October stated that animals, including cattle, had been exhibited in the barn during previous events and that before the dairy education event, tractors, scrapers and leaf blowers were used to move manure to a bunker at the north end of the barn.

The group that used the barn before that was identified as the Whatcom Youth Fair in the lawsuit, which states that the fairgrounds had given the group the option of cleaning the barn themselves or paying a fee to have it cleaned.

“You’re basically blowing bacteria through your facility,” Clark said of using leaf blowers.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health 62:90-99, 2015

G. Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman  and D. Powell


Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the US caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.


Biosecurity? Australian federal lab sues contractor after fridge power left off, rare samples destroyed

A simple flick of the switch has allegedly cost the CSIRO millions of dollars and destroyed years of painstaking research

airplane.plug.johnnyIn an extraordinary civil case, the government’s national science agency is suing an occupational safety company for accidentally leaving the power off to a fridge containing extremely rare samples collected for plant and crop research.

Scientists at the CSIRO’s Black Mountain complex first noticed something was wrong in February 2006. 

A distinct smell was coming from a fridge in the Herbarium Microbiology Laboratory.

The fridge was used to store a rare collection of rhizobia, soil bacteria that live on the roots of legumes, helping to fix nitrogen in a process called “biological nitrogen fixation”.

The CSIRO says the collection, being used for advanced crop research, took years to collect and was worth “many millions” of dollars.

Some of the strains were obtained from the most remote, arid areas of Australia.

Upon investigation of the smell, a scientist quickly found the fridge to be turned off at the power point.

The CSIRO has launched action in the ACT Supreme Court against four defendants, Testel Australia Pty Ltd, Thermal Air Services Pty Ltd, and two associated individuals.

It alleged that the power was turned off to enable equipment to be plugged into a testing device, before being plugged back in at the wall. 

The power switch, however, was allegedly never turned back on.

Couple awarded $11.4 million for Cheyenne restaurant Salmonella poisoning

A federal judge in Casper, Wyoming, awarded a Nebraska couple nearly $11.4 million in damages after they ate at a buffet restaurant in Cheyenne in Oct. 2010 and the husband was poisoned with Salmonella, according to court records reported by KGAB.

Old+Country+Buffet“He (Christopher Gage) has undergone numerous surgeries and procedures in an attempt to ease his pain and discomfort,” U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl wrote

“He is in daily pain. He cannot eat or drink water without vomiting. In fact, the testimony is that Mr Gage vomits eighty-five to ninety percent of the time when he eats or drinks. His mobility has been taken from him. He falls on an almost daily basis, which has caused him to break bones. He requires a cane, walker, or wheelchair for mobility, depending on how debilitating his condition is on any given day. His cognitive functioning has been significantly impacted. His relationship with his wife and son have been adversely affected,” Skavdahl wrote.

Christopher and Heather Gage ate at the Old Country Buffet formerly located on Dell Range Boulevard on Oct. 1, a day after the Laramie County Health Department had cited it for numerous code violations.

“Over the following days, Mr. (Christopher) Gage’s symptoms progressed to include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, fever, sepsis, acute kidney failure, acute lactic acidosis, adrenal crisis, anemia, thromocytopenia and atrial fibrillation,” according to the complaint.

During the entire case, Ovation Brands did not respond to the Gages’ lawsuit or defend itself in court.

Ovation Brands has operated other restaurants including Hometown Buffet, which had been at the Eastridge Mall.

In August, Ovation Brands was bought by Food Management Partners of San Antonio, Texas.

The company did not return a call seeking comment.

Careful with barf: Queensland woman sues Woolworths over vomit slip

A Queensland woman is suing Woolworths for $750,000 after she slipped on a puddle of an employee’s vomit near the entrance of the Ipswich store.

vomit_here_by_seedpix_at_flickrBefore the fall Jennifer Hunt said she was a fit woman who cared for her husband, but the Courier Mail reports she now relies on her daughter to be her carer.

“I’d just walked in. I didn’t even see it. I just went down,” she said.

“At first I thought it was orange juice, but then I smelt it and thought ‘This is somebody’s vomit’.”

The claim states Mrs Hunt injured her lower back, left hip, her knees and her left foot in the fall in November 30, 2012.

The supermarket chain has disputed the extent of her injuries.

Man’s five-star wedding anniversary celebrations in Jamaica ‘ruined’ by Salmonella

A man whose 30th wedding anniversary celebrations in Jamaica were ‘ruined’ when he collapsed in his hotel room after contracting salmonella is still showing symptoms six months later, according to his solicitors.

salm.jamacia.oct.15Ian Counsell, 51, from Haslingden, travelled to the five-star Riu Palace hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica, with his wife Christine, as a celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary in March but became ill.

He and his wife have now instructed expert travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of his illness and the hygiene standards at the hotel.

‘Industry standards, inspections, QA andHACCP’ Sprout grower sued for salmonella illness despite soundbites

Coral Beach of The Packer writes that a Rhode Island woman is seeking unspecified damages from Wonton Food Inc. in relation to a salmonella infection she developed after eating the company’s fresh sprouts.

kevin.allen.sproutThe case against the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company stems from a 2014 salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 115 people in a dozen states, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Amanda Harris, Middleton, R.I., was among the seven Rhode Island residents who developed salmonella infections from Sept. 30 through Dec. 15, 2014, according to the federal court complaint against Wonton Food.

The company’s website states it operates within “industry standards.”

“Our company participates in the strictest of inspections, from both the U.S. government agencies and our valued customers. We also maintain a top notch quality assurance department that has been formally trained and holds HACCP certifications. We are regularly audited by our customers, and independent third party firms such as Silliker Labs & NSF consistently scoring a ‘Superior’ rating,” according to the Wonton Food website.

The federal civil case against the company challenges the effectiveness of Wonton Food’s food safety.

If you’re sick, stay at home: 14 sick, 1 dead at SC daycare, lawsuit filed

The parents of a 2-year-old boy who died in May after an E. coli outbreak at a Greenwood daycare facility have filed a lawsuit.

Myles MayfieldThe lawsuit, filed by Myles Mayfield’s parents, names The Learning Vine, LLC as the defendant in the wrongful death lawsuit.

Myles died in Greenville Memorial Hospital from medical complications associated with E. coli, coroner Sonny Cox said.

The lawsuit alleges that the first case of E. coli illness in the outbreak was a teacher at the daycare facility.  It says that after the teacher returned to work at the center, several of the children being cared for showed symptoms of the infection during the week of May 10, including Myles.

The lawsuit says the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was not notified that a teacher The Learning Vine had been sick with an E. coli infection until May 18.  The lawsuit said the daycare did not tell parents about the employee’s infection.

After he had been sick with diarrhea off and on for a couple weeks, Myles parents took him to his doctor on May 26 because his condition was worsening, the lawsuit says. Myles was sent home without treatment, and his parents later took him to the emergency room at Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood.

Myles was admitted to the hospital, and on May 27, he was transferred to Greenville Memorial, where he was put on dialysis and a ventilator and died May 31.

The lawsuit says that DHEC confirmed 14 cases of the infection connected to The Learning Vine.  DHEC said that the “staggered onsets of illness indicated person-to-person transmission rather than exposure to a single source, such as food.”

Settlement reached in XL Foods beef recall

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit over the largest meat recall in Canadian history.

XL.fine.foodsThe lawsuit was launched against XL Foods based in Brooks, Alberta after 18 people got sick with E. coli after eating tainted meat in 2012.

The majority of the $4 million settlement will go to those poisoned by the meat, health care providers and claims will also be paid out to consumers who had to throw out the tainted products.

The settlement still has to be approved by the courts.