WASHINGTON – Two more cases of illness were blamed Sunday on the outbreak of E. coli linked to fresh spinach, raising the number of people sickened to 173, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
So far, 92 people have been hospitalized, including a Wisconsin woman who died. Two other deaths have been reported in suspected cases — a child in Idaho and an elderly woman in Maryland — but those cases are still being investigated.
Since the outbreak was reported two weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration has recommended people not eat fresh, raw spinach. State and federal investigators since have traced the contaminated spinach back to three counties in California's Salinas Valley.
On Friday, officials said spinach grown anywhere outside that area is safe to eat — but industry needs to figure out how to let consumers know the origin of what they're buying before the green can return to sale, said Dr. David Acheson of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The 25 states that have reported infections are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.