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Outbreak News

Settlement Announced in Cantaloupe Death and Illness Cases

Press Release

May 3, 2002

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marler Clark, the Seattle attorneys who have successfully fought for safer food, today announced the settlement of two salmonella cases stemming from the May, 2001 salmonella outbreak tied to contaminated cantaloupe.

The cases settled were the wrongful death case of 78-year old Florence Dodds and the personal injury case of fifteen month old Nathan Eget.

On May 25, 2001 the FDA issued a press release warning consumers about Viva Brand imported cantaloupe. The FDA advised consumers of an outbreak of salmonella poona linked to cantaloupe imported to the U.S. by Shipley Sales Service of Nogales, Arizona. The outbreak was implicated in numerous illnesses and one death in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington State. The FDA detained all cantaloupe imported by Shipley Sales Service and took steps to prevent the importation of any additional contaminated cantaloupe.

Ms. Dodds, a resident of Hemet, California, endured significant physical and mental suffering as a result of the salmonella infection prior to her death. Her family incurred nearly $10,000 in medical expenses as a result of her death. "Deaths for salmonella poisoning are quite rare, but according to the CDC, about 1,000 people die annually in the Untied States. This was an unfortunate, but completely preventable tragedy," said William Marler, attorney at Marler Clark.

Nathan Eget is the son of Liz and Rick Eget of Tarzana, California. On Wednesday, April 25, 2001, Nathan began to experience serious and unusual symptoms of illness. For three days, Nathan had severe diarrhea and vomiting. He had a constant fever, would not eat, and was extremely lethargic and listless. On Tuesday, May 1, it was discovered that Nathan had grown a Salmonella culture from one of his blood samples, and that there was a bacterial infection in his blood. Since this was a much more serious diagnosis then originally suspected. Nathan was immediately transferred to the ICU for observation, because dangerous side effects could occur after the antibiotic treatment. Nathan's temperature continued to rise, he remained completely lethargic, his stomach became extremely distended, and his diarrhea continued to the point where he needed to be changed every hour. He remained hospitalized for over a week. His family incurred over $40,000 in medical expenses.

More on this outbreak: Shipley Sales Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak

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