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Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Apr 15;48(8):1079-86. doi: 10.1086/597399.

Multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection associated with consumption of packaged spinach, August-September 2006: the Wisconsin investigation.

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Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.



Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection often causes hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome.


In 2006, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, in cooperation with other local, state, and federal partners, investigated an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection.


In September 2006, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene were able to link geographically dispersed E. coli O157:H7 isolates recovered from the stool samples of ill persons, all of which had the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern (i.e., outbreak pattern). Investigators conducted a case-control study with control subjects (n = 86) matched to case patients (n = 49) by age, sex, and residential location. All case patients' onsets of illness occurred during the period from 20 August through 14 September 2006. Illness was associated with spinach consumption (matched odds ratio, 82.1; 95% confidence interval, 14.7 to >1000). Of the 49 case patients, 26 (53%) recalled eating brand A spinach. On multibrand analysis, only brand A was associated with illness (undefined matched odds ratio; 95% confidence interval, 6.8-infinity). Wisconsin's agriculture laboratory isolated E. coli O157:H7 with the outbreak pattern from spinach in 2 brand A packages, both produced on 15 August 2006.


The rapid multijurisdictional epidemiologic and laboratory response, including timely pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern analysis and PulseNet posting, facilitated prompt voluntary recall of brand A spinach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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