On the anniversary of my 5,000th blog post (I’m now at 6,388) I wrote:

In 2002, I wrote an Op-ed for the Denver Post entitled: “Put me out of business. Please.”

For this trial lawyer, E. coli has been a successful practice – and a heart-breaking one. I’m tired of visiting with horribly sick kids who did not have to be sick in the first place. I’m outraged with a food industry that allows E. coli and other poisons to reach consumers, and a federal regulatory system that does nothing about it…. And, with a little luck, it will force one damn trial lawyer to find another line of work.

From the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 until the 2002 ConAgra E. coli outbreak, at least 95% of Marler Clark revenue was E. coli cases linked to hamburger.  Today, it is nearly zero.  That is success.  To the beef industry – thank you for meeting the challenge.  The millions spent on interventions, and the countless hours of food safety professionals, made the difference.

That all being said, there is still much the industry can do.  Shiga-toxin producing E. coli will always be an issue.  Listeria and antibiotic resistant Salmonella and Campylobacter, and other bad bugs we do not even know about, lurk around the corner.  The industry cannot let up.  Even with the success there still have been isolated tragedies like Stephanie Smith who remind you the battle will likely always have to be fought.

But, for now, hats off to you.

Hopefully, it was not a premature congratulations?  Here is where we were a few moments ago:

As of April 25, 2019, 177 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from 10 states. CDC is reporting the 177 illnesses that the PulseNet laboratory network has confirmed are part of this outbreak. States are investigating additional illnesses that might be a part of this outbreak.

Illnesses started on dates from March 1, 2019, to April 14, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 84 years, with a median age of 18. Fifty-one percent are female. Of 143 people with information available, 21 (15%) have been hospitalized. No deaths and no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome have been reported.

This multistate investigation began on March 28, 2019, when officials in Kentucky and Georgia notified CDC of this outbreak. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that ground beef is the likely source of this outbreak.

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