Update on Multi-State Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections From Fresh Spinach, September 20, 2006
NOTE: This document is provided for historical purposes. The content of this document has not been revised since its original release and therefore may no longer be up to date.
As of 1 PM (ET) September 20, 2006, Wednesday, 146 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported to CDC from 23 states.
Among the ill persons, 76 (52%) were hospitalized, 23 (16%) developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and an adult in Wisconsin died. One hundred three (71%) were female and 8 (5%) were children under 5 years old. Among ill persons who provided the date when their illnesses began, 93% became ill between August 19 and September 5. The case with the earliest illness onset known to be associated with consumption of fresh spinach began having symptoms on August 19.
The states that have reported cases are Arizona (4 cases), California (1), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Idaho (4), Illinois (1), Indiana (8), Kentucky (7), Maine (2), Michigan (4), Minnesota (2), Nebraska (7), New Mexico (5), Nevada (1), New York (9), Ohio (15), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (7), Utah (16), Virginia (1), Washington (2), Wisconsin (40), and Wyoming (1).New Mexico’s public health laboratory has isolated E. coli O157 from an opened package of spinach. The package came from the refrigerator of a patient who ate some of the spinach before becoming ill. The New Mexico laboratory completed “DNA fingerprinting” tests last night. New Mexico and CDC determined that the “DNA fingerprint” matches that of the outbreak strain.
CDC Advice for Consumers
- Currently, the FDA has advised to not eat any fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach that are consumed raw.
- E. coli O157:H7 in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. (Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.) If spinach is cooked in a frying pan, and all parts do not reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, all bacteria may not be killed. If consumers choose to cook the spinach, they should avoid cross-contamination of the fresh spinach with other foods and food contact surfaces, and wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling the spinach.
- Persons who develop diarrhea after consuming fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach are urged to visit their health care provider and ask that their stool specimen be tested for E. coli O157.
- Persons who ate fresh spinach or salad blends and feel well do not need to see a health care provider.
For more information about the outbreak, about the investigation, and for prevention guidance, see E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak from Fresh Spinach.
Page last modified September 19, 2006
Content source: National Center for Infectious Diseases