Friday, Sept. 15

FDA issues E. coli consumer alert

FDA warning on serious food-borne E. coli O157:H7 outbreak

One death and multiple hospitalizations in several states          Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 15, 2006]  ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing an alert to consumers about an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in multiple states. It may be associated with the consumption of produce. To date, preliminary epidemiological evidence suggests that bagged fresh spinach may be a possible cause of this outbreak.

Based on the current information, FDA advises that consumers not eat bagged fresh spinach at this time. Individuals who believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming bagged spinach are urged to contact their health care provider.

"Given the severity of this illness and the seriousness of the outbreak, FDA believes that a warning to consumers is needed," said Dr. Robert Brackett, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "We are working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local agencies to determine the cause and scope of the problem."

E. coli O157:H7 causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. This syndrome is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. To date, 50 cases of illness have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including eight cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome and one death.

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At this time, the investigation is ongoing. States that reported the illness as of Thursday were Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.

FDA will keep consumers informed of the investigation as more information becomes available.

[U.S. Food and Drug Administration news release provided by as a public health alert]


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