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German E. coli outbreak

Emerging Pathogens: Is E. Coli O104:H4 the Next Strain to Watch?

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In May 2011, a virtually unknown strain of E. coli, known as O104:H4, made worldwide headlines when an outbreak in Germany sickened approximately 4,000 people and killed 50, including one American. This event, linked to fresh sprouts, quickly became the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in history. In the days following the first reports of illness,… Continue Reading

Food Source Might Be Responsible for 10,000 German Illnesses

As many as 10,000 German school children stricken since Friday  by a vomiting virus may be suffering from eating cafeteria food, health authorities say. While the investigation is far form over, attention has focused on the food services company called Sodeco that supplies cafeteria food to many schools and day care centers in areas of… Continue Reading

Research Could Lead to E. coli O104 Treatments

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Last year’s German E. coli outbreak made headlines around the world in May and June as it sickened nearly 3,800 people and killed 50, distinguishing it as the single deadliest foodborne illness outbreak of all time. The outbreak was a dramatic entrance to the world stage for the microbe at the center of it all,… Continue Reading

European E. coli Outbreak Sheds New Light on Treatment Strategies

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It is an accepted fact among medical experts that an E. coli infection should not be treated with antibiotics, as these drugs may worsen illness. But a new review of strategies used to treat victims of last year’s European E. coli outbreak shows that a combination of two or more antibiotics may have helped patients… Continue Reading

EU Tallies Human & Economic Damages From O104 Outbreak

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Bureaucrats in Brussels have tallied up the damage last year’s E. coli O104:H4 outbreak did to the European fruit and vegetable business and threatened to use European Union law to make sure it does not happen again. Yet, the newly released “Commission Staff Working Document” into “lessons learned” about the 2011 outbreak probably won’t shake… Continue Reading

Spanish Farmers Paid a Price for Europe’s E. coli O104 Outbreak

The Murcia region in southeastern Spain, where the Segura River is found, is known as Europe’s orchid because of its abundant production of fruits, vegetables and flowers. But Murcia is coming off a down year because of a variety of factors, not the least of which was the virulent E. coli outbreak last spring centered… Continue Reading

Food Safety Compromised As Global Trade Expands

As the web of global food trade becomes more and more complex, humans become increasingly vulnerable to prolonged foodborne illness outbreaks, says a team of international researchers. The interconnectedness of the world’s food supply is putting global food safety in jeopardy, according to a study published last month in PLoS ONE, because it allows for… Continue Reading

Antibiotic May Reduce Time Patients Carry E. Coli

Antibiotics are not usually recommended for treating E. coli infections; however one of these drugs showed promising results when given to victims of last year’s massive European outbreak linked to sprouts.  Azithromycin, administered to patients to prevent the spread of meningitis, was associated with a shorter duration of shedding of the E. coli O104:H4 bacteria… Continue Reading

Another Clue to E. Coli O104:H4?

Scientists in Oslo say sequencing of a particular virulent strain of E. coli O103:H25, which caused an outbreak in Norway in 2006, revealed a resemblance to the 2011 German outbreak strain of E. coli O104:H4, and suggests the two strains are related. Writing in the online journal PLoS ONE, the researchers with the Department of… Continue Reading

An Outbreak Like Germany’s Could Happen Here

I am interested in how major foodborne outbreaks and their investigations are interpreted and analyzed: to prevent future outbreaks, minimize the harm from outbreaks that occur, and frame the debates on regulating food safety on farms. When I was asked by a small organic farmer in California what the implications were of the 2011 O104:H4… Continue Reading