Thursday, September 14, 2006

Don't pass the spinach

The US Food and Drug Administration just announced an E. Coli outbreak in eight states. There has been one death and about 50 people who have been made sick by this infection. The outbreak has been linked to bagged spinach and the FDA is advising avoiding it.

There's a cheap spinach joke in there somewhere, but I'm not going to take it. Hardly anyone dies from the E. Coli O157:H7 bug. That's why this story is alarming to me.

The Centers for Disease Control has good information on O157:H7 here:
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an emerging cause of foodborne illness. An estimated 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths occur in the United States each year. Infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure. Most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Person-to-person contact in families and child care centers is also an important mode of transmission. Infection can also occur after drinking raw milk and after swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water...

Most persons recover without antibiotics or other specific treatment in 5-10 days. There is no evidence that antibiotics improve the course of disease, and it is thought that treatment with some antibiotics may precipitate kidney complications. Antidiarrheal agents, such as loperamide (Imodium), should also be avoided.
Personally, I've never taken care of anyone with this infection. But, in reading about it and in talking with some physicians, you definitely do not want this. Hopefully, this outbreak will be brought under control soon, and the amount of illness will be limited.

10 comments:

rdl said...

I guess I can live without spinach; just dont mess with my chocolate.

oncRN said...

geez, i had bagged spinach at least 4 times this week. is that a time bomb i hear ticking? wish me luck.

Janet said...

Scary! Makes me wonder what they are using for fertilizer.

Michael C said...

I'm on blood thinners for the rest of my life, so I can't have a lot of spinach...although I often now find myself "green" with envy when I see Popeye. Stupid sailor...

Jenny said...

Oh holy smokes! And I've been feeding spinach to my transplant kid in his salad every day to try to boost his nutrition a bit. I never even saw this anywhere until I saw it here. So glad you posted it! How scary!

Bill Marler said...

E. coli O157:H7 is a very nasty bug - see, www,about-ecoli.com and www.about-hus.com. Keep current on this outbreak at www.marlerblog.com

The Curmudgeon said...

This is the danger of linking with your site (as I've done, thank you): I was definitely going for the cheap spinach joke. I had the post all but written on the train this morning.

Now I'm shamed into reconsidering it.

(Don't worry, I'll get over it....)

Moof said...

I gave up spinach for Swiss Chard years ago ... and haven't had any of that lately, either, since this is our first year in forever without a garden.

However - I don't grocery shop, my chef son and my husband buy all of the groceries, so just in case someone gets the idea that some fresh bagged spinach would be "nice," I'll pass on the info!

Thank you!

Morgen said...

for those wondering about speculations on how the E.coli got into the spinach, I just posted about manure spraying & sludge on my spinach posting at It's A Blog Eat Blog World
www.morgenfiles.blogspot.com

I knew that most E.coli strains were antibiotic resistant (and my post speculates on that, too) but I'd never heard you're not supposed to take anti-diarrheals. why's that?

Anonymous said...

I normally buy two bags of spinach every week or so. One of my absolute favorite meals at home is a spinach salad with fresh fruit and toasted walnuts or toasted almonds. I usually eat a spinach salad at least once a day. Spinach is a favorite of mine but I doubt I will be in the mood for it after this.

Fortunately, I was tired of it and switched to romaine lettuce last week. I tossed the remaining bag of spinach out today.

Dream Mom