As the Associated Press reported today, Marler Clark is suing Crossroads Farm petting zoo and its owners on behalf of four young children who became seriously ill from E. coli bacteria after visiting the North Carolina State Fair.
One family had two preschool boys who became severely ill, with one boy hospitalized for 10 days and the other for 17 days. All of the children involved in the lawsuit were 3 or younger.
From the AP article:
“Twenty-four outbreaks have been linked to fairs and petting zoos since 1995,” Marler said after the lawsuit was filed. “At this petting zoo, procedures were woefully inadequate to prevent an outbreak.”
On Thursday, state health officials issued a report that named Crossroads as the likely source of harmful bacteria that caused 15 children to contract a life-threatening kidney ailment in October.
The report by the North Carolina Division of Public Health said the state’s largest outbreak of E. coli in three years, involving 108 cases, appears to have originated at the Crossroads Farm exhibition at the state fair, held in Raleigh.
Though most of the cases were mild, 15 children suffered serious reactions to toxins that collected in their kidneys. The complication can lead to kidney failure and possible death. Four children continue to receive dialysis, said Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The report said more than half of the 108 people infected with E. coli were 5 years old or younger and two-thirds were under 18. Most came into contact with animal manure.
Investigators said they matched the genetic fingerprints from identified cases of the disease to E. coli samples taken from the site of the petting zoo.