Update on Multi-State Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections From Fresh Spinach, September 23, 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 23, 2006, Saturday, 171 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported to CDC from 25 states.
Among the ill persons, 92 (54%) were hospitalized, 27 (16%) developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and an adult in Wisconsin died. One hundred twenty-three (72%) were female and 14 (8%) were children under 5 years old. The proportion of persons who developed HUS was 31% in children (<18 years old), 7% in persons 18 to 59 years old, and 16% in persons 60 years old or older. Among ill persons who provided the date when their illnesses began, 88% became ill between August 19 and September 5. The peak time when illnesses began was August 30 to September 1 -- 35% of persons with the outbreak strain became ill on one of those 3 days.
Two deaths among suspect cases have been reported. Suspect cases are not known to have been infected with the outbreak strain, so are not included in the confirmed case count. Idaho is investigating a suspect case in a 2-year-old child with HUS who died on September 20 and reportedly had recently consumed fresh spinach. E. coli O157 has not been detected in the child. Maryland is investigating a suspect case in an elderly woman who died on September 13 and had recently consumed fresh spinach. E. coli O157 was cultured from her stool, but “DNA fingerprinting” to determine whether it is the outbreak strain has not been possible.
Click on the map to see the number of persons reported with the outbreak strain from each state.
CDC Advice for Consumers
- Currently we are advising consumers to not eat any fresh spinach or salad blends containing spinach grown in the three counties in California implicated in the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak -- Monterey County, San Benito County, and Santa Clara County. Fresh spinach grown outside these counties can be safely eaten. Frozen and canned spinach can be safely eaten. New 9/23/06
- 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 23, 2006
Content source: National Center for Infectious Diseases