CDC updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2006/september/updates/092206.htm A sample from a Maryland woman and some of the spinach she ate before she got sick are being tested at a Maryland state lab, and results may not be known for several days, Washington County Health Department spokesman Rod MacRae told the Associated Press (AP) today. Once investigators pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, federal officials will evaluate what went wrong, David Acheson, MD, chief medical officer for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said at a news conference yesterday. Officials will first determine if food safety rules were followed properly, he said. If spinach contamination occurred despite good compliance by farmers and producers, the FDA will consider issuing additional mandates, Acheson said. See also: The CDC said the woman died Sep 13 and had recently consumed fresh spinach. E coli O157:H7 was cultured from her stool, but DNA fingerprinting to determine if it is the outbreak strain has not been possible, the agency said. The CDC said today that 31% of children under 18 in the outbreak suffered HUS. For adults aged 18 to 59, the HUS rate was 7%, and for those 60 and older the rate was 16%. Teams from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the state of California have narrowed their investigation of the outbreak to nine farms in California’s greater Salinas Valley area, on the basis of information from spinach bags found in the homes of some patients and records from three companies that recalled fresh spinach products. “This is a very suspicious association at this point, there’s no question about it,” MacRae said. He said the woman was a Washington County resident in her 80s. A 2-year-old Idaho boy with HUS died Sep 20, but E coli O157:H7 has not been detected in his samples, the CDC said. Christine Hahn, MD, an epidemiologist at the Idaho Department of Health, told the AP that the boy had bloody diarrhea and that family members said he had eaten packaged spinach. At an FDA press briefing yesterday, Acheson said one possibility would be labeling spinach with the place of origin. Sep 22, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Nine more cases were found in a nationwide outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections linked to fresh spinach, raising the total to 166, and two more deaths are suspected to be part of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today. Food growers have held meetings this week on how to strengthen their food safety processes. After a meeting yesterday between regulators and 200 industry members, Tom Nassif, president and chief executive officer of the Western Growers Association, told reporters that regulators said investigation findings and new industry-produced food safety guidelines are needed before the FDA will lift its warning against eating raw spinach. Nassif was quoted in the Monterey County (Calif.) Herald. Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety, told the Washington Post, “I liken this to Jack in the Box all over again.” He referred to a 1993 E coli outbreak linked to the chain’s hamburgers, which sickened 700 people and killed four children. The outbreak prompted the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue tougher processing standards. An article in the Los Angeles Times said today that regulatory oversight for fresh produce isn’t as rigorous as it is for beef, poultry, and seafood. Safety guidelines for the handling of fresh produce are voluntary, and the number of inspections of processing facilities has been declining for years, the article said. State health officials in Maryland and Idaho are awaiting test results to determine if two patients who died from known or suspected E coli infections this week have the same strain implicated in the outbreak. The outbreak has now affected people in 25 states, two more than yesterday, the CDC said. Eighty-eight people (53%) were hospitalized. Cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of the illness, remain at 27. One death was previously confirmed to be linked to the outbreak. The FDA issued its fresh spinach alert on Sep 14 after the CDC announced that 50 patients in eight states had been diagnosed with E coli infections and that fresh or raw spinach was the food most of them had in common. “We know that if he had that kidney disease, it makes it very probable that he had E coli,” Hahn said. She added that test results would likely be available next week.
The Wisconsin men’s tennis team will look to finish the season better than it started during this weekend’s final regular season matches against opponents also sitting in the lower half of the conference standings. The Badgers will first host the Iowa Hawkeyes and then travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the Big Ten’s newest addition, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.All three teams dwell in the lower end of the Big Ten this season with Nebraska at eighth, Wisconsin at 10th and Iowa in last with just one win all season in a non-conference match. According to head coach Greg Van Emburgh, despite the losing season, the Hawkeyes are not a team that can be overlooked.“We are definitely taking every conference match with a lot of pride and a lot of heart,” Van Emburgh said. “We don’t have the luxury of looking past any team.”Iowa has recently shown its resilience, especially on the doubles court. In their most recent match against Michigan, the Hawkeyes lost 6-1 as a team but there were several individual noteworthy victories. One such win came from the No. 1 doubles pairing of Garret Dunn and Michael Swank, who defeated the No. 13 doubles team in the nation of Evan King and Shaun Bernstein. The 8-7 win marked just the second of the season for Dunn and Swank and also marks the highest-ranked doubles win since head coach Steve Houghton arrived at Iowa.Dunn also excelled on the singles court as he has done all year. He tallied the only Hawkeye singles win of the day with a 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (5) victory over Michigan’s Barrett Franks at the No. 4 singles position. Dunn extended his conference winning streak to three matches and currently leads the Hawkeyes with a 9-9 record on the season.“Iowa has a great doubles spot,” Van Emburgh said. “Overall, they haven’t been playing the best results-wise, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have solid tennis players on their team.”In last season’s match against the Hawkeyes, the Badgers commanded both the singles and doubles courts in a 5-2 victory. However, Wisconsin will be facing a rather unfamiliar roster this time around as three out of the six Iowa singles players from last year’s lineup have since graduated, leaving the Hawkeyes – much like the Badgers – with a very young team. Iowa’s youth have competed through a tough season, facing 12 ranked opponents in their last 13 matches.On paper, the only difference between the Badgers and the Hawkeyes is their season record. Similar to Wisconsin, Iowa players remain persistent, pushing many singles matches to three sets and usually losing doubles matches by four games or less. A young leader for Wisconsin, sophomore Petr Satral recognizes the importance of preparing for each team equally regardless of record.“This year, Iowa is not that strong, but we still need to play well to win because our teams are playing very similar,” Satral said. “It will not be an easy match, so we still need to be prepared to get our win.”Wisconsin will finish up the regular season with a trip to Nebraska to try its luck against the Cornhuskers Sunday. Nebraska is just below .500 at 10-12 overall and is currently on a three-game slide, leaving them at 3-6 in conference play.The No. 71 Cornhuskers will be celebrating Senior Night for three graduates in their match against the Badgers, including co-captain and singles leader Benedikt Lindheim. The senior from Germany’s 63 career singles wins have earned him the No. 4 spot on Nebraska’s all-time wins list. Lindheim has split time in the No. 1 singles position with fellow senior and co-captain Christopher Aumueller, who has 52 career wins.Wisconsin has not had the chance to play Nebraska in past seasons since the team is new to the Big Ten. However, the Badgers can expect a similar level of play from the Cornhuskers, as they too have had close matches against tough opponents all season.In its match against Iowa earlier this year, Nebraska came out on top in a 6-1 victory, but not without a fight from the Hawkeyes. The Huskers won the doubles point despite only winning each match by two or three games. Singles proved to be less of a challenge, as Nebraska only dropped one match at the No. 4 singles spot.Van Emburgh and the Badgers are preparing for their final Big Ten regular season matches just as they have all season: by refusing to overlook a team based on record.“You look at their results, and you don’t see wins,” Van Emburgh said. “But if you get a couple of guys to step up on a particular day, then all of a sudden the results happen.”