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E. Coli Is Found in Third Bag

September 27, 2006|Mary Engel | Times Staff Writer

A third bag of Dole baby spinach from California's Central Coast tested positive for the same strain of E. coli implicated in a nationwide outbreak.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported Tuesday that the outbreak had expanded to 183 cases in 26 states and Canada. Ninety-five people have been hospitalized, and of those, 29 have developed a serious kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. An elderly Wisconsin woman has died.

An additional two deaths -- a 2-year-old in Idaho and an elderly Maryland woman -- were among about two dozen "suspect" cases under investigation.

Public health laboratories in New Mexico, Utah and Pennsylvania isolated the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 from bags of spinach that had sickened residents in those states. Bags of spinach also tested positive in Illinois and Ohio, but laboratories there were still conducting DNA tests to see if the strain matched that found in the wider outbreak. Federal and California health officials traced the information from lot numbers on the spinach bags to California farms.

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mary.engel@latimes.com

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