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Delaware Health Alert Network #121

August 15, 2006 8:53 AM

Health Advisory

The Division of Public Health is forwarding this Health Advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To contact DPH about this Health Advisory, call 1-888-295-5156. This number is answered during normal business hours, and during non-business hours for emergencies.

This is an official
CDC Health Alert

Distributed via Health Alert Network
September 14, 2006, 23:00 EDT (11:00 PM EDT)

Multiple States Investigating a Large Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections

Public health officials in multiple states, with the assistance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are investigating a large outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Thus far, 50 cases with isolates demonstrating pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) CDC PulseNet pattern number EXHX01.0124, as determined by Xba restriction enzyme DNA digestion, have been reported from CT (1), ID (3), IN (4), MI (3), OR (5), NM (2), UT (11), WI (20). Eight patients developed the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and one patient died. Most cases are recent: for those with known illness onset, the range of onset is 08/25/2006 to 09/03/2006. The outbreak is likely ongoing.

Preliminary findings from case interviews indicate that pre-packaged spinach is the most likely source. Additional investigation is necessary to determine the brand or brands of pre-packaged spinach involved. State and CDC investigators are working with FDA to quickly gather information to take action to protect the public. The FDA advises that consumers not eat bagged fresh spinach at this time.

The E. coli O157:H7 bacterium causes diarrhea that is often bloody and accompanied by abdominal cramps, but fever is absent or mild. The illness typically resolves within a week. However, some people, especially young children and the elderly, develop the hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.

For more information concerning E. coli O157 infection, please see the CDC internet website:

E. coli O157:H7 cases should be reported rapidly to the appropriate local and state public health officials, and isolates should be forwarded to state public health laboratories for rapid PFGE analysis. We request state officials report cases demonstrating the outbreak PFGE pattern to the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch (Thai-An Nguyen (, 404-639-0776) ASAP.

NOTE:  The CDC HAN web site has been relocated. The link to the new site location is:  If you maintain or contribute to a web site that links to the CDC HAN web site you should update the link. Also, to ensure the widest dissemination of this change it would be appreciated if you would distribute this notification as appropriate. Thank you!

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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