A 52 year-old Clermont County woman was exposed to the deadly E. coli bacteria and hospitalized on Sept. 15 after consuming store-bought bagged or packaged spinach, according to Clermont County Health Commissioner Marty Lambert. Contaminated spinach has sickened more than 100 people nationwide.
“There has only been one confirmed case in our county,” she said. “The woman was briefly hospitalized, diagnosed, treated, and released over the weekend. She is now home recuperating.”
This new confirmed case of E. coli is one of eight new cases in the state which is believed to be linked to a national outbreak of the contaminated spinach. The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed 15 cases of E. coli contamination in the state since the first of the year.
On Sept. 18, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against eating all fresh spinach because the companies that produce and package spinach also supply many chain and larger restaurants with the product.
“When things like this come to our attention, we take the necessary steps to ensure public safety,” Lambert said. “When there is a recall of an item (as was the case here), we notify the stores and recommend pulling the items in question off consumer shelves. After initial contact, we then follow-up to ensure compliance.”
At this time, most local grocery stores have removed pre-packaged spinach from their shelves.
Lambert said that the last outbreak of E. coli in the county was in the mid-90′s.
“It is very difficult to track the bacteria to a source because most people do not remember what they had to eat yesterday, much less days ago,” she said. “We are concerned about this latest case, but there is no need for the community to panic.”
Since 2001, there have been 150 E. coli cases a year in the state of Ohio.