Illinois case of E. coli O157:H7 linked to
consumption of bagged spinach
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Case matches the national pattern
[SEPT. 18, 2006]
-- An elderly woman from north-central Illinois is the first state
resident whose E. coli O157:H7 isolate matches the national outbreak
associated with spinach consumption.
Her onset of illness was in late August, and she is hospitalized
with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure that can be
associated with E. coli O157:H7, especially in the elderly and the
very young. The woman has a history of consumption of fresh spinach.
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, warns about
the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7, a specific strain of E. coli, in
multiple states. The outbreak may be associated with the consumption
of bagged spinach.
"We advise people to err on the side of caution and not eat fresh
spinach or products containing spinach," Whitaker said. "Anyone who
thinks they may have experienced symptoms of illness after eating
fresh spinach or products containing spinach are urged to contact
their health care provider and local health department."
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E. coli O157:H7 is a virulent strain compared with other strains
of E. coli. It 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, a condition which can lead to serious kidney damage and
even death. To date, more than 100 cases of illness have been
reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
including cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome and one death.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is working with the
Centers for Disease Control laboratory to test people suspected of
being linked to the outbreak. Health care providers with suspect
cases may submit stool specimens to the Department of Public Health
laboratory for testing after consulting with their local health
Department of Public Health news release]