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      Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Feral Swine near Spinach Fields and Cattle, Central California Coast1


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          We investigated involvement of feral swine in contamination of agricultural fields and surface waterways with Escherichia coli O157:H7 after a nationwide outbreak traced to bagged spinach from California. Isolates from feral swine, cattle, surface water, sediment, and soil at 1 ranch were matched to the outbreak strain.

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          Standardization of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis protocols for the subtyping of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Shigella for PulseNet.

          Standardized rapid pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) protocols for the subtyping of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella serotypes, and Shigella species are described. These protocols are used by laboratories in PulseNet, a network of state and local health departments, and other public health laboratories that perform real-time PFGE subtyping of these bacterial foodborne pathogens for surveillance and outbreak investigations. Development and standardization of these protocols consisted of a thorough optimization of reagents and reaction conditions to ensure that the protocols yielded consistent results and high-quality PFGE pattern data in all the PulseNet participating laboratories. These rapid PFGE protocols are based on the original 3-4-day standardized procedure developed at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was validated in 1996 and 1997 by eight independent laboratories. By using these rapid standardized PFGE protocols, PulseNet laboratories are able to subtype foodborne pathogens in approximately 24 h, allowing for the early detection of foodborne disease case clusters and often aiding in the identification of the source responsible for the infections.
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            Incidence and Tracking of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in a Major Produce Production Region in California

            Fresh vegetables have become associated with outbreaks caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EcO157). Between 1995–2006, 22 produce outbreaks were documented in the United States, with nearly half traced to lettuce or spinach grown in California. Outbreaks between 2002 and 2006 induced investigations of possible sources of pre-harvest contamination on implicated farms in the Salinas and San Juan valleys of California, and a survey of the Salinas watershed. EcO157 was isolated at least once from 15 of 22 different watershed sites over a 19 month period. The incidence of EcO157 increased significantly when heavy rain caused an increased flow rate in the rivers. Approximately 1000 EcO157 isolates obtained from cultures of>100 individual samples were typed using Multi-Locus Variable-number-tandem-repeat Analysis (MLVA) to assist in identifying potential fate and transport of EcO157 in this region. A subset of these environmental isolates were typed by Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) in order to make comparisons with human clinical isolates associated with outbreak and sporadic illness. Recurrence of identical and closely related EcO157 strains from specific locations in the Salinas and San Juan valleys suggests that transport of the pathogen is usually restricted. In a preliminary study, EcO157 was detected in water at multiple locations in a low-flow creek only within 135 meters of a point source. However, possible transport up to 32 km was detected during periods of higher water flow associated with flooding. During the 2006 baby spinach outbreak investigation, transport was also detected where water was unlikely to be involved. These results indicate that contamination of the environment is a dynamic process involving multiple sources and methods of transport. Intensive studies of the sources, incidence, fate and transport of EcO157 near produce production are required to determine the mechanisms of pre-harvest contamination and potential risks for human illness.
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              Ongoing multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7 infections associated with consumption of fresh spinach--United States, September 2006.

              On September 13, 2006, CDC officials were alerted by epidemiologists in Wisconsin and Oregon that fresh spinach was the suspected source of small clusters of Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7 infections in those states. On the same day, New Mexico epidemiologists contacted Wisconsin and Oregon epidemiologists about a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 infections in New Mexico associated with fresh spinach consumption. Wisconsin public health officials had first reported a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 infections to CDC on September 8. On September 12, CDC PulseNet had confirmed that the E. coli O157:H7 strains from infected patients in Wisconsin had matching pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns and identified the same pattern in patient isolates from other states. This report describes the joint investigation and outbreak-control measures undertaken by state public health officials, CDC, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This investigation and additional case finding are ongoing.

                Author and article information

                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                December 2007
                : 13
                : 12
                : 1908-1911
                [* ]California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA; †University of California, Davis, California, USA
                []US Department of Agriculture, Albany, California, USA
                [§ ]US Department of Agriculture, Sacramento, California, USA
                []University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
                [# ]California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, California, USA
                [** ]US Food and Drug Administration, Alameda, California, USA
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Michele T. Jay, Food and Drug Laboratory Branch, California Department of Public Health, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, University of California, 1 Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA; email: michele.jayrussell@ 123456cdph.ca.gov

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                swine,sus scrofa,wild boar,california,dispatch,spinach,dna typing,population density,escherichia coli o157


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