E. Coli Tainted Spinach

By  | 

Add Illinois and Nebraska to the list of states with E-coli cases believed to be linked to spinach.

Health officials in Illinois say an elderly woman is hospitalized with kidney failure after getting sick late last month.

And in Nebraska, officials believe at least one recent E-coli case is linked to spinach. Tests were sent to a federal lab for confirmation, but officials say all the signs are there. Eighteen other cases are suspected in Nebraska, where officials are checking to see if those people ate spinach.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, test results are expected this week on whether an E.-coli case at the University of Colorado at Boulder is related to the tainted spinach.

School officials say a male CU graduate student who lives off campus got the sickness last weekend after eating bagged spinach. Mark Salley of the Colorado health department says it is expecting lab tests results on Wednesday to see if his illness is connected to the outbreak.

School officials say another student also is having symptoms, and tests results are also due today. All bagged spinach has been removed from campus dining halls and facilities.

Salley says the department is also expecting results of a case in Gunnison tomorrow. He says specimens from a third reported case out of Denver County are being sent to the department, but he was NOT sure when they would be arriving.

The Food and Drug Administration says it doesn't believe there's been any tampering in this E-coli outbreak, the exact source of which it's still trying to track. The FBI says it's also keeping an eye on the situation, but mostly as a routine, precautionary measure.

These E-coli cases are the latest in a series of 19 food poisoning outbreaks since 1995 linked to spinach and lettuce. For the past two years, the FDA's top food safety official has been warning California farmers to do more to increase the safety of their leafy greens.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)