187 persons have now been reported to have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 according to the Centers for Disease Control. 97 were hospitalized, 29 developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and one adult in Wisconsin has died. One hundred thirty-four were female and 18 were children under 5 years old. It appears 82% became ill between August 19th and September 5th.
There have also been two deaths in cases suspected to be related but not included in the official case count. In Idaho a 2-year-old child with HUS died on September 20 and reportedly had recently consumed fresh spinach. E. coli O157 has not been detected in the child. In Maryland an elderly woman 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.
E. coli O157 was found in 9 packages of spinach supplied by patients living in 7 states. All packages were marketed as baby spinach and labeled with the same brand name. The “DNA fingerprints” of all 9 of these E. coli match that of the outbreak strain.