See Also: Bacteria


In May 2011 an outbreak due to a virulent strain of E. Coli began in Germany. By July 3,768 people had been infected, 752 Europeans suffered kidney failure and 44 people had been killed. Beans sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany was eventually determined to be the source.

The bacteria Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is a type of E. coli associated with food borne, illness. Healthy cattle and humans can carry the bacteria. It can be transferred from animal to animal and animal to human, and from animal to human on food. Transmission from person to person through close contact is a potential problem, especially among young children in daycare.

This bacteria is found in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. When an animal is butchered, the bacteria can be transferred to the meat’s outer surface. E.coli 0157:H7 infection can be spread by hand-to-hand contact with an infected person or even from surfaces he/she may have touched. A small number of people who become infected with E.coli 0157:H7 do not get sick at all; some experience flu-like symptoms; others experience severe, even life-threatening symptoms. Symptoms include diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, vomiting and low-grade fever. It may cause an unusual type of kidney failure and blood disorder called haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Although HUS is commonly called “hamburger disease”, un-pasteurized milk untreated water, vegetables and un-pasteurized apple juice/cider contaminated with E.coli 0157:H7 have made people ill.


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