Tough Mudder Participants Exposed to E. coli Risk

Concerns have been raised by NHS Dumfries and Galloway that people who took part in the Tough Mudder endurance event at Drumlanrig Castle on 17 and 18 June 2017 may have been exposed to a potentially deadly strain of E. coli – known as E. coli O157.

E. coli is a type of bacteria normally found in animal and human intestines, but certain strains of E. coli can cause infection and severe symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or fever.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway has urged anyone who has taken part in the event and is displaying these symptoms to seek immediate medical advice.

People usually notice symptoms three to four days after they have been infected, but they can take anything up to 14 days to develop.

Laura McGee, solicitor in NewLaw Scotland’s Glasgow Office has been in touch with several Tough Mudder participants who are suffering from symptoms consistent with a deadly strain of E. coli.

In 2012 a number of cases of E. coli were linked to the Tough Mudder event held at the same venue, Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire. This resulted in the Scottish Government sending alerts to Health Authorities across Scotland.

This year’s event saw approximately 14,000 people complete a mud filled, 10-12 mile obstacle course.  E. coli O157 is found in the faeces of animals particularly cattle.  The outbreak of E. coli is likely to be as a result of ingestion of mud contaminated with animal waste.

Although the Tough Mudder is an endurance event which carries with it many risks, the organisers are still responsible for the health and safety of the participants.  Given the event in 2012 was linked with an E. coli outbreak the organisers should have taken even more precautions this year to ensure those taking part were not exposed to this risk.

It is common in events such as these for participants to sign a waiver before they take part. This waiver to the untrained eye appears to remove any liability from the organisers of the event. However any such waiver is entirely unenforceable under Scots Law. The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 protects members of the public against unreasonable terms.

Anyone who has been injured or contracted a disease like E. coli during an event like Tough Mudder would be entitled to pursue a claim against the organisers.  Laura McGee, Associate Solicitor with NewLaw Scotland comments:

“In the past week I’ve spoken to a few people who have become very unwell after taking part in this event.

People who sign up for Tough Mudder know they’ll face some risks, but they don’t expect to be exposed to a potentially deadly strain of E. coli.

“This is a known risk, given the outbreak in 2012. If participants have contracted E. coli they can pursue a claim against the organisers even if they have signed a waiver before competing. Any waiver signed by participants would be essentially meaningless and would not prevent them from pursuing a claim.”

If you have been injured or become unwell after participating in this event, or any other similar events, and would like free legal advice you can contact NewLaw Scotland on 0333 003 0655.

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