More E.coli cases in the United States - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More E.coli cases in the United States

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BENTON COUNTY, Wash. - Half of all states in the United State have E.coli cases linked to spinach.

The latest death is possibly linked to the bad spinach is a two-year-old Idaho boy who died in a Utah hospital.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 166 people nationwide have E.coli contamination associated with the outbreak.  There were three reported cases in Washington, one in each Benton, Island and Cowlitz Counties.

The health department said it takes a while for tests to confirm that the E.coli is linked to the bad spinach and said there might be more.

Benton Franklin County Health Department official Susan Shelton said, "It can actually can be spread person to person because once you have E.coli and it comes out when you go to the bathroom you can spread it if your not careful with your hand washing."

Shelton said, "If you don't cook it hot enough it can still be there and you can still get sick."

Health Department officials said there are a lot of different ways to get in through food.  She said, "so primary we worry about things that aren't cooked through like hamburger.  Usually the food in the united states is very clean so it surprises us when we have an outbreak."

The latest outbreak has caused farmers to reconsider the way they test their produce for contamination.

In the Northwest there has been 12 reported spinach linked cases linked to E.coli.

The Health Department said symptoms include, "mild cramping, your intestines will hurt, your guts will hurt and the diarrhea will start and for the most it doesn't go bloody."

The health department said some people would have it and not experience any symptoms.  They said those people are not in danger, but others could get it from them.

Contact your doctor or the Health Department if you are concerned or have any questions.