Tests Confirm UVa Student's E.coli

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

September 28, 2006

Test results confirm that a UVa student did have an E.coli infection, but it's not linked to the strain that made hundreds of people sick nationwide.

"It's like a stomach ache that you have for an hour-and-a-half or two hours, but I had that for four days straight," said Adam Hermida.

The third-year UVa student was faced with stomach pain so severe he was unable to hold down food or drink for days.

"I wasn't sleeping, I hadn't eaten or drank anything for about three days and I was ready to give up, I was ready to cut my losses; it was that bad," Hermida said.

He was hospitalized at UVa Medical Center.

After running through everything Hermida had eaten since last week he discovered he had ingested contaminated spinach that he bought from a local grocery store. It happened the day before the national ban on the sale of spinach took effect.

"Most healthy adults recover within a week," said Lilian Peake, of the Charlottesville Health Department.

Hermida did recover. He is now able to eat full meals again, which is great for his strength since he lost so much weight when he was sick.

"Besides losing 10 or 12 pounds I'm feeling fine," said Hermida.

Health department officials have asked Hermida to keep his bag of half eaten spinach for more testing. However, initial testing shows this strand of E.coli is not the same infection that has affected hundreds of others across the country.

"In some cases it can cause severe complications so we need to take every measure to protect people," said Peake.

Virginia has had two confirmed cases of the E.coli infection linked to the nationwide outbreak.

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