John K. Wiley of the AP wrote today: “Wash. woman sickened by E. coli dies”

An 83-year-old Richland woman sickened by tainted spinach in September has died. Betty Howard died Friday of heart failure in a Richland rehabilitation facility, nearly five months after she was hospitalized with symptoms of sickness caused by eating contaminated spinach, said Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer.

She had been living independently in her own home until she became ill, her son said.

Marler, who also represents families of two other victims of the tainted spinach outbreak, said he doubts Howard will be listed as a victim, even though her case was confirmed by genetic tests that linked it to the fatal strain of E. coli. “It’s DNA fingerprint matches all the others in the outbreak and that in bags of spinach,” he said. “Whether they list it as the cause of death, it’s unlikely, given the time frame between the outbreak and her death and given she was 83.”

Marler said Howard was living independently “and doing pretty well, but she ate spinach and went downhill from there.”

See for more detail on E. coli caused death in the elderly.