E. coli outbreak may be from super-toxic new strain

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Last post made 13 years ago by Cat50
wnanhee
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  • One more reason for us to grow our own...
    It's really sad that we can not even trust vegetables...
    Always wash your salad vegetables thoroughly and know where your vegetables are grown and take the appropriate steps to keep them clean.




    Scientists on Thursday blamed Europe's worst recorded food-poisoning outbreak on a "super-toxic" strain of E. coli bacteria that might be brand new.

    But while suspicion has fallen on raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce as the source of the germ, researchers have been unable to pinpoint the food responsible for the frightening illness, which has killed at least 18 people, sickened more than 1,600 and spread to least 10 European countries.

    An alarming number of victims - about 500 - have developed kidney complications that can be deadly.

    Chinese and German scientists analyzed the DNA of the E. coli bacteria and determined that the outbreak was caused by "an entirely new, super-toxic" strain that contains several antibiotic-resistant genes, according to a statement from the BGI laboratory in Shenzhen, China. It said the strain appeared to be a combination of two types of E. coli.

    "This is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before," Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the World Health Organization, said. The new strain has "various characteristics that make it more virulent and toxin-producing" than the many E. coli strains people naturally carry in their intestines.

    However, Dr. Robert Tauxe, an expert in food-borne diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, questioned whether the strain is new, saying it had previously caused a single case in Korea in the 1990s. He said genetic fingerprints may vary from specimen to specimen, but that is not necessarily enough to constitute a new strain.

    "Though it appears to have been around a while, it hasn't called attention to itself as a major public health problem before," Tauxe said.

    Russia extended a ban on vegetables from Spain and Germany to the entire European Union to try to stop the outbreak from spreading east, a move the EU quickly called disproportionate and Italy's farmers denounced as "absurd." No deaths or infections have been reported in Russia.

    Some scientists suspect the deadly E. coli might have been in manure used to fertilize vegetables.

    Kruse said it is not uncommon for bacteria to evolve and swap genes. It is difficult to explain where the new strain came from, she said, but bacteria from humans and animals easily trade genes.

    Previous E. coli outbreaks have mainly hit children and the elderly, but this one is disproportionately affecting adults, especially women. Kruse said there might be something particular about the bacteria strain that makes it more dangerous for adults. Nearly all the sick either live in Germany or recently traveled there.

    The outbreak is considered the third-largest involving E. coli in recent history, and it may be the deadliest. Twelve people died in a 1996 Japanese outbreak that reportedly sickened more than 9,000, and seven died in a Canadian outbreak in 2000.
  • It's very scary Nan.  I have family in Germany too.

    blue

  • Well, the only certain thing is that the rumor (because there are no solid facts yet) has caused huge losses to farmers all over Europe. Now that could kill more than the deadly bacteria.

  • Awww...that certainly is a sad and unfortunate,Johnny... sad

    Knowing clearly how farmers all around the world worked so hard through out the year but have to face this...
    But how can we ignore the cases like this especially  it effects our living?

    Here is a update.

    E.Coli Crisis Intensifies

    Europe's severe outbreak of Escherichia coli bacterial infections worsened further on Friday as more people succumbed to the lethal strain in Germany and around Europe.

    Total reported cases in Germany reached 1,733, with 520 of those resulting in severe complications that can lead to kidney failure, according to the Robert Koch Institute, a research body funded by the German health ministry. Cases have been reported in at least 11 other European countries.

    The Spanish, Portuguese and German governments said on Friday that they would request EU aid for farmers affected by the outbreak, which is costing farmers millions of euros as mountains of vegetables sit rotting and uneaten.

    The source of the outbreak still hasn't been found, and authorities continue to warn against eating raw lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. So far, 18 people have died from the strain, which is the deadliest outbreak of E. coli in modern history.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero late Thursday evening and they agreed to push for EU aid for farmers affected by the bans, according to the chancellor's spokesman.

    The Portuguese government also said Friday that they would seek damages from the European Commission, estimating Portuguese farmers lost €2 million ($2.9 million) in the first week of the outbreak.

    E. coli infections are normally food borne, and nearly all cases have been traced back to northern Germany, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm.

    Although the E. coli outbreak has mostly been limited to northern Germany, it has the European vegetable industry reeling from public fears about the virus. Russia on Thursday banned all fruit and vegetable imports from the EU.

    The German Farmers' Association estimates they're already losing €30 million a week, and a farming lobby in Spain says farmers stand to lose as much as €200 million a week.

    Hamburg city health officials originally fingered Spanish cucumbers as the culprits, triggering a collapse in sales of Spanish "pepinos" or cucumbers, but later determined they were infected with a different strain of E. coli.

    Confirmation that Spanish cucumbers are not to blame for the outbreak has led to rising public support in Spain for the country's farmers in what has been dubbed the "pepino crisis." Several TV stations have launched special programming to promote the maligned vegetable, including the La Sexta network, which is running a series of events and promotions it calls the "pepino revolution". Part of the campaign: Pro-cucumber video segments will be aired during news programs.

  • I remember buying a can of olives which came from spain. Thought I'd try something new. Opened can, tried one, spit it out and dumped the rest. They looked and were the very same like I get here, but the taste was so abhorrent, I ditched them and had 3 cups of coffee to wash away the taste! Buy only USA stuff and I agree, wash the veggies.

    I can attest, catching Ecoli is a dangerous disease to catch.

  • Gene..........................................

    I have missed you so much but now I am superly duperly  happy to see you re back!!! <3

                                   

  • Well, so far no cases have been recorded here in Serbia, but because of the issues in Germany, everyone's now buying only Serbian produce (which tastes better anyway). The news about this have caused much panic all over the country in the past few days...

  • I went shopping yesterday and I've never seen so much salad stuff in the shops.  Nobody is buying anything imported from Europe.  I feel for the farmers who are losing hundreds of thousands of Euros despite the fact that they are saying it is not their produce that is causing it.

    blue

  • Quote from the movie "Inception" : "What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere."
    So I guess the idea that the bacteria is out there somewhere is far stronger than the bacteria itself...

  • So very true Johnny.

  • True...but it never hurts to be cautious. wink



  • Use of proper food handling, cooking and handwashing techniques would be far more effective than bans of imported produce. This is a sad situation for those who fall ill and their families as well as for farmers.


    Well said and I couldn't agree more. thumbs_up

  • So the news is that they have found what the outbreak started in - it was indeed beansprouts.  Apparently, well known for harboring E coli. 

    blue

  • if i can ever get some money iwill go back to my country girl roots and raise my own livestock and have a great little farm with plenty of fruits and veggies  sad

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