About E. coli

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About E. coli Blog

E. coli outbreak linked to baby spinach

As of November 15, 2021, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from seven states – Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 15, 2021, to October 27, 2021.

Sick people range in age from 2 to 71 years, with a median age of 26, and 70% are female. Of eight people with information available, two have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the six people interviewed, five (83%) reported eating spinach in the week before they got sick.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Josie’s Organics Baby Spinach

  • Sold at stores nationwide
  • “Best by” date of October 23, 2021
  • Sold in plastic clamshell containers

Minnesota officials found E. coli O157:H7 in a package of leftover Josie’s Organics baby spinach collected from a sick person’s home. Five people in this outbreak reported eating spinach in the week before they got sick and 1 reported Josie’s Organics brand.

Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated.

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