Spinach in Pennsylvania found to have E. Coli

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A sample of fresh bagged spinach containing the E. coli bacteria O157:H7, responsible for the latest outbreak has now been discovered in Pennsylvania.

This is the third state to find this particular strain of E. coli in the past month and all have been traced back, according to the Food and Drug Administration, to nine farms in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara in California.

The State Health department is advising the public to avoid eating fresh spinach from these areas until public health officials and food producers can be sure the E. coli risk is eliminated.

The fresh bagged Dole baby spinach was purchased on or around Sept. 8 in Indiana County and matches the strain linked to the current outbreak.

Eight people in Pennsylvania have now contracted E. coli but there have been no reported deaths in Pennsylvania.

The state health department is continuing to investigate two dozen additional cases in order to determine if they too were caused by the same strain.

It is suspected that a San Juan Bautista processing plant may be the source of the outbreak.

Two contaminated bags found in Utah and New Mexico last week were processed at the same time at a Natural Selection plant and the investigation remains focused on the plant which officials believe packaged the tainted spinach for Dole and dozens of other brands.

Spinach grown elsewhere has not been implicated in the current E. coli outbreak and is safe to eat.

The public are advised not to purchase or consume fresh spinach if they cannot verify that it was grown in areas other than the three California counties implicated in the outbreak.

Other produce grown in these counties is not implicated in this outbreak.

Processed spinach (e.g., frozen and canned spinach) is also not implicated in this outbreak and the spinach industry is working to get products from areas not implicated in the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak back on the market.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, often with bloody stools and most healthy individuals recover completely within a week, but the very young and elderly are at a greater risk of developing a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can be fatal.

The E. coli outbreak from spinach has made at least 175 people sick of whom 93 were hospitalized, including a 77-year-old Wisconsin woman who died.

A child in Idaho and an elderly woman in Maryland have also died but those cases are yet to be confirmed as a result of E. coli.

More than 30 brands of spinach have been recalled along with salads and pizza that may contain spinach supplied by Natural Selections.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, have all reported E. coli infections since the spinach-linked outbreak was identified last month.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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