Archive for June 8th, 2011

June 8, 2011

Scientists link e.coli epidemic to mutation of earlier 2001 bug outbreak in Munster, Germany

[Renate Von Kuznig, Health Contributor]

Wall Street Journal:  Not cucumbers, not sprouts, not tomatoes – what then is responsible for the ongoing deaths (up to 28 or so) and the thousands being made ill by the e.coli infections hitting Germany and frightening the world?  The culprit it seems is to be none other than an evolved and extremely toxic version of a bug first identified in Münster, Germany, way back in 2001 say scientists.

According to Alexander Mellmann at the University Hospital of Munster: “Everything we know so far indicates it is an evolved strain…if it was completely unknown, we’d struggle a lot more in our effort to fight it.”

Researchers at BGI and University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf researchers who seem to agree with Dr. Mellmann after looking at material belonging to the 2001 and 2011 strains of the bug and found that seven genes crucial to both bugs’ existence are the same as well as 12 others.

The 2001 outbreak had affected around five identified people world-wide and had never really been identified and eradicated and the scientists’ genetic analysis has shown up that as the earlier bug has interacted with the newer one, it has become stronger and is practically drug-resistant.

Nearly all the 2700, or so cases of the bug infection and associated deaths can be traced back to Germany.