How E.Coli Spinach was tracked

Here’s an informative news article on how spinach was found to be the culprit in the outbreak:

…on Sept. 8, Wisconsin officials signed on to a password-protected federal database called PulseNet and filed reports of what they had.

Coordinated by the CDC, PulseNet is a network that was created following a 1993 E. coli outbreak. It includes a database now stocked with some 32,000 images of E. coli samples. An Internet chat room enables officials to share observations.

“A message goes out, alerting others to this uptick, so there is heightened attention,” CDC spokeswoman Jennifer Morcone explained Wednesday.

This is a little “behind the scenes” look at how they’re tracking this outbreak, using initial circumstansial evidence, until they are able to compare “fingerprints” of the any sampled bacterial DNA.

Side note: If there’s anyone who should get a kudos in all of this, it’s Melissa Plantenga, a special-studies coordinator with the Oregon Department of Human Services, who figured out something was going on on September 12th.

That’s a state agency, by the way, not a federal one. How’s that National Uniformity for Food Act looking now?

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