Tainted Spinach Linked To Toddler's Death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/22/06-Idaho

Tainted Spinach Linked To Toddler's Death

Don Moseley opens cases of bagged fresh spinach and tosses them into a trash container Thursday. Don Moseley opens cases of bagged fresh spinach and tosses them into a trash container Thursday.
The FDA advises consumers not to eat fresh spinach or products that contain fresh spinach until further notice. The FDA advises consumers not to eat fresh spinach or products that contain fresh spinach until further notice.
Across the country, spinach has been pulled off grocery store shelves, like this one in Washington. Across the country, spinach has been pulled off grocery store shelves, like this one in Washington.
A 2-year-old Idaho boy's death could be linked to the nationwide outbreak of spinach contaminated with E. coli bacteria, a state health official said.

The boy, Kyle Allgood, may have eaten spinach in the days before becoming ill. Testing results are expected sometime next week, said Idaho epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn, who spoke to CNN affiliate KBCI in Boise.

"At this point we don't have any cultures finished yet ... but apparently he had bloody diarrhea and then developed kidney complications that are known to be associated with this type of E. coli," Hahn said.

The Food and Drug Administration has urged people not to eat fresh spinach since it announced the E. coli outbreak a week ago.

Of 157 cases in 23 states linked to the tainted spinach, one death has been officially blamed on the outbreak.

Kyle became sick September 15 after friends said his mother had blended spinach into a smoothie for him. He was initially hospitalized at Portneuf Medical Center in the eastern Idaho town of Chubbuck, before being transferred to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City where he died overnight Wednesday from kidney complications, according to CNN affiliate KSL.

"Sunday he started going downhill," the boy's father Jeff Allgood told KSL.

Doctors said the boy's kidney failure was caused by hemolytic uremic syndrome, which could come from E. coli bacteria, KSL reported.

"That's what we suspect it is," Allgood said. "He ate spinach, what we thought was kind-of bad spinach, and so we didn't use it anymore after that."

Since the boy's death, both Idaho and Utah state health departments are trying to track down where the spinach was bought to ensure the safety of others, Hahn said.

Although anyone can acquire kidney complications from E. coli, the elderly and children under 5 are most at risk, Hahn said.

About 7 percent of the nation's 157 reported cases of infection were in children under 5. At least 83 people have been hospitalized and 27 have suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome -- the same type of kidney complications that killed Kyle.

Federal and state officials have traced the outbreak to contaminated spinach from California's Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara counties, according to The Associated Press.

The states and number of people who became ill are Arizona, 4; California, 1; Colorado, 1; Connecticut, 3; Idaho, 4; Illinois, 1; Indiana, 8; Kentucky, 7; Maine, 2; Michigan, 4; Minnesota, 2; Nebraska, 8; Nevada, 1; New Mexico, 5; New York, 11; Ohio, 20; Oregon, 5; Pennsylvania, 7; Utah, 17; Virginia, 1; Washington state, 3; Wisconsin, 41; and Wyoming, 1.

AP reported that a bag of tainted Dole baby spinach found in the refrigerator of a New Mexico patient was a "smoking gun" that allowed investigators to zero in on farms in California's Salinas Valley.

The spinach tested positive for the same strain of E. coli linked to the outbreak, according to AP. Dole is one of the brands of spinach recalled late last week by Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista, California. River Ranch Fresh Foods, of Salinas, California, and RLB Food Distributors, of West Caldwell, New Jersey, have both recalled products that included Natural Selection spinach, AP reported.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report

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