Although the food supply in Tennessee and the rest of the nation is remarkably safe, food-borne illnesses still occur. Recently, Knox County health care officials reportedly noticed an increase in the number of parasitic diseases that may be spread through food and other methods. Cryptosporidium can be transmitted through food that was prepared by someone who was infected, baby changing tables, surfaces that were not sufficiently disinfected, and person-to person interactions. Since the parasite is apparently resistant to chlorine, it may also be spread through swimming pools and other wet areas.
Unfortunately, the parasite, which causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, may be able to live on surfaces for up to one week. In addition, it generally takes about one month for the parasite to clear a person’s body. Symptoms of cryptosporidium may include massive amounts of diarrhea, which can result in the need for hospitalization. Children are especially prone to becoming dehydrated from the parasite.
According to Knox County epidemiology nurse Connie Cronley, cryptosporidium spreads easily, and it only takes a few parasites to render an individual sick. Over the course of 2015, the county has had at least 34 cases of the disease reported. Normally, fewer than one dozen cases are noted in the area annually. Despite this, cryptosporidium cases apparently tend to spike about every five years.
Since the infection rate only considers those individuals who sought medical treatment, Cronley stated the number of cases of cryptosporidium in Knox County are likely under-reported. Many people who contract the bug blame food poisoning or other illness for their malaise. Instead of going to the doctor, such individuals often unwittingly continue to spread the parasite. Cronley added that thorough and meticulous hand washing is the best method to stop the spread of the parasite.
Sadly, an estimated 5,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of food-borne illnesses. The most common symptoms of food-borne illness include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. In some situations, individuals may become gravely ill or die as a result of a food-borne disease. According to the nation’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), many people who are sickened by a food-borne disease fail to seek medical attention when necessary. To illustrate, the CDC estimates that for each case of salmonella-induced sickness diagnosed across the U.S., 38 similar cases go unreported.
In Tennessee and elsewhere in the U.S., individuals who were sickened by a preventable food-borne disease may be entitled to recover compensation for their resulting medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. The skillful attorneys at the Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. are available to help personal injury victims in Knoxville and across Eastern Tennessee recover the financial compensation they deserve. To discuss your right to recover damages for your food-borne illness with an experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer, call the Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. today at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our website.
Knox County sees spike in parasite-caused illness, by Kristi L. Nelson, Knoxville News Sentinel
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