Suffering from Food Poisoning?
Our Orlando Food Poisoning Attorneys Can Help
The food we eat can be the source of many types of illnesses, either from microorganisms in the food itself or from the method of storage or handling of the food. Whether a restaurant with poor standards or an unsanitary farm caused your illness, our Orlando food poisoning lawyers can investigate your case and find out who is responsible. They may owe you compensation for your pain, suffering, lost wages and other damages.
Types of Food Poisoning
The most common type of food poisoning comes from bacteria, or from a group of viruses called calicivirus:
- E. Coli O157:H7
- Norwalk virus
- Hepatitis A
- Giardia lamblia
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Clostridium botulinum
One of the major difficulties in determining food poisoning is that the symptoms can be the same as an illness contracted from an airborne virus with the most common symptoms being vomiting and/or diarrhea. To accurately diagnose a bacteria-based food illness, a laboratory culture must be grown from a stool sample. A parasite can be identified under a microscope. A virus, however, cannot be revealed under a microscope and often is only identified by their genetic markers.
What Causes Food Poisoning?
Although consumers can sometimes be infected from food in their own homes, the more widespread cases of food poisoning usually involve restaurants, fast food establishments or cruise lines. State health guidelines have strict regulations on food storage temperatures, facility cleanliness and hand washing standards for all staff members. If a restaurant allows any one of these to fall below the standard, a restaurant guest will more than likely be a victim of a food borne illness.
Our Orlando law firm has successfully brought cases against national restaurant chains, fast food restaurants, and hotels for food poisoning, E. Coli and even Hepatitis A.
Food borne disease-causing bacteria:
Giardia lamblia and cryptosporidia are primarily water borne parasites that can be contracted from undercooked, contaminated food.
Campylobacter is the most common source of diarrhea from bacteria. The symptoms are fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. These bacteria live in the intestines of healthy birds, and because of the processing of the meat, most raw chicken has campylobacter. The major source of this infection comes from eating undercooked chicken or allowing contaminated raw chicken or juice to touch other foods.
Salmonella also produces symptoms of fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps and can come from a wide range of food sources. It lives in the intestines of many species of birds, reptiles or mammals. In consumers with poor health or weakened immune systems, it can become a life threatening infection of the blood.
E. Coli O157:H7 is primarily found in cattle, and the source infection from the bacteria in humans can usually be traced to cow feces. These symptoms include severe, bloody diarrhea and extreme abdominal cramps, but usually no fever.
Calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk virus, is unlike most food borne illnesses in that it is thought to be spread by humans. It is associated more with acute vomiting rather than diarrhea, and it usually passes within two days.
Shigella is bacteria that usually spreads from human to human but can become food borne due to poor hygiene by food handlers or servers. Flies can also spread the disease to prepared food. The symptoms again are diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps that last from five to seven days.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Direct contact with human feces can spread the virus. However, food handlers with the virus are frequently identified as the source. There are multiple symptoms including fever, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and myalgia followed by jaundice. The symptoms may last up to 28 days. There is no known cure, and although the symptoms may subside, the disease never leaves the body.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that grows in some foods. A toxin the bacteria produces causes extreme vomiting. It is most often contracted from infected food workers or contaminated milk or cheese. These toxins are fast acting, and consumers may experience symptoms within 30 minutes.
Clostridium botulinum, commonly referred to as botulism, is now rare in the U.S. It is caused by a nerve toxin produced by the clostridium botulinum bacteria. There are three main types of botulism: food borne, wound infected and infant botulism. Food borne, as the name implies, is caused from eating food contaminated with the botulism toxin, usually in home-canned foods. Symptoms include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness, all associated with paralysis caused by the toxin. Early cases can be treated with anti-toxins, but there may still be a long recovery process. Extreme cases can result in respiratory failure.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Center for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov