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Widespread 2017 Outbreak of STEC at a Marine Corps. Camp


In early October 2017, outbreaks of STEC (Shiga-toxin producing E.coli) strain O157:H7 infection were precipitated by consumption of undercooked meat. The case has been litigated for two years. Sodexo was the supplier of prepared food to two Marine Corps. installations in California including a training depot and Camp Pendleton in San Diego.  The outbreak involved 244 Marine recruits of whom thirty were hospitalized and fifteen suffered hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) resulting in renal failure and neural effects. Some patients will endure permanent disabilities.


The lawsuit contends that Sodexo employees and management should have been aware of the dangers of undercooking beef and were deficient in ensuring meals provided to service personnel were free of pathogens. Sodexo denies responsibility noting that a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control did not conclusively determine the source of the foodborne infection.


In a recent ruling, the U.S District Court for the Southern District of California allowed plaintiffs to sue for punitive damages.