Monday, October 16, 2006

Spinach E. coli outbreak linked to cow manure

Maybe this can now be solved?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cattle manure from a ranch in California's Salinas Valley carries E. coli bacteria that match the strain that killed three Americans and sickened 200, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

Samples taken from three cattle at a ranch precisely match the strain of E. coli 0157:H7 taken from patients and from bags of spinach linked to the outbreak, Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of the Prevention Services Division at the California Department of Health told reporters.

"This is a significant finding and it is the first time that we have linked a ... E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak to a specific ranch in the Salinas Valley," Reilly said.

Reilly said the outbreak had been traced to four farms in San Benito and Monterey counties in central California.

"Not all of them have both livestock and production of fresh spinach or produce right there right next to each other. This particular ranch that we just talked about does have that."

He said cattle were between a mile and half a mile from the spinach fields on the ranch.

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