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Posts Tagged ‘E. coli’

European Union growing more divided

June 26, 2011 1 comment

freep.com

IN GREECE: About 3,000 police officers, coast guard workers and firefighters protest salary and budget cuts on Thursday in Athens. Austerity measures in Greece have fueled disenchantment with the European Union.

 IN GREECE: About 3,000 police officers, coast guard workers and firefighters protest salary and budget cuts on Thursday in Athens. Austerity measures in Greece have fueled disenchantment with the European Union. / DIMITRI MESSINIS/Associated Press

FLENSBURG, Germany — Erik Holm Jensen slips between countries without a thought or a passport.

The 60-year-old business consultant drives from Denmark into northern Germany as smoothly as an American going from Delaware to New Jersey. There’s no hassle at the border, no guards to stop him. If he blinks, he misses the modest sign indicating he’s crossed from one country into another.

Such seamless travel is one of the European Union’s greatest achievements in its pursuit of a stable, prosperous continent built in the lingering aftermath of World War II. The other is the euro, like the wad in Jensen’s wallet that he can use in 17 nations.

But the twin pillars of Europe’s grand project are now Read more…

Sprouts to Blame for E. Coli Outbreak

June 10, 2011 Comments off

medpagetoday

Despite no positive findings of Escherichia coli on sampled produce, German officials have determined that bean sprouts are the source of the deadliest outbreak in recent European history.

“It’s possible to narrow it down. It’s the sprouts. However, it’s not yet been possible to detect the pathogen on this product,” said Reinhard Burger, chief of Germany’s national disease control center, during a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Burger said that the pattern of the outbreak, which has sickened 3,082 and killed 31, has led them to conclude that the source of E. coli is an organic farm in Bienenbuettel, Germany, which is about 70 miles south of Hamburg, the epicenter of the outbreak.

It is possible that no traces of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) will ever be linked to the outbreak, as most of the suspected sprouts have been consumed or thrown into the garbage after spoiling, German officials said. However, the hunt for the bacterium is not over.

“Of the 18 samples taken [from the organic farm], eight Read more…

Does the Chicken in Your Refrigerator Contain Arsenic?

June 9, 2011 Comments off

webwire

EMSL Analytical provides food testing services to detect contaminants and pathogens in the nation’s food supply.

Cinnaminson, NJ

The last few weeks have been filled with media reports about the E. coli outbreak in Europe that has so far claimed 27 lives and sickened thousands. Now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that low levels of arsenic may be in some products that contain chicken meat.

According to the FDA, “Arsenic is in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a contaminant and is found in water, air, soil, and food. Published scientific reports have indicated that organic arsenic, a less toxic form of arsenic and the form present in 3-Nitro® (roxarsone), an approved animal drug, could transform into inorganic arsenic.”

The study that identified the issue looked at the livers of 100 chickens. The chickens that had consumed the product had higher levels of Read more…

In U.S., Salmonella Is On the Rise While E. Coli Retreats

June 7, 2011 Comments off

usnews

TUESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) — As a deadly new strain of E. coli in Europe makes headlines, U.S. health officials announced Tuesday that salmonella, not E. coli, remains the biggest foodborne health threat to Americans.

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In fact, while rates of several types of foodborne illness — including E. coli — have been falling over the past 15 years, there’s been no progress against salmonella infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While infections from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (the strain of most concern in the United States) have dropped almost in half and the rates of six other foodborne infections have been cut 23 percent, salmonella infections have risen 10 percent, the agency said.

“There are about 50 million people each year who become sick from food in the U.S. That’s about one in six Americans,” CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said during a noon press conference Tuesday.

In addition, about 128,000 people are Read more…

E.coli outbreak in Europe caused by new toxic strain

June 2, 2011 Comments off

reuters

Main Image

An employee of Czech center of national reference laboratories prepares samples of vegetables for molecular testing on EHEC bacteria (bacterium Escherichia coli.) in Brno June 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/David W Cerny

By Tan Ee Lyn

HONG KONG | Thu Jun 2, 2011 8:13am EDT

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The E. coli epidemic in Europe is caused by a new, highly infectious and toxic strain of bacteria that carries genes giving it resistance to a few classes of antibiotics, Chinese scientists who analyzed the organism said.

The scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute, who are collaborating with Germany’s University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, completed sequencing the genome of the bacterium in three days after receiving its DNA samples.

“This E. coli is a new strain of bacteria that is highly infectious and toxic,” said the scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute in Shenzhen city in southern China.

They said in a press release on Thursday the bacterium was closely related to Read more…

EU ministers scramble to deal with cucumber crisis

May 30, 2011 Comments off

expatica

EU agricultural ministers Monday struggled to come to terms with a deadly bacteria outbreak suspected of stemming from contaminated cucumbers that has already killed 12 in Germany.

“One problem with Spanish cucumbers, and all of Europe is trembling,” Belgium’s minister Sabine Laruelle said on the sidelines of an informal meeting in Debrecen, eastern Hungary.

At least 12 people have died in Germany following an outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) found on imported cucumbers.

And several hundred more are being treated in hospitals for the highly virulent strain of bacteria, which can result in full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a disease that causes bloody diarrhoea and serious liver damage and which can result in death.

Around Europe, other cases — real or suspected — have been reported in Denmark, Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, France and Switzerland, all of them apparently stemming from Germany.

Dutch agriculture minister Henk Bleker said Read more…

Bacteria on the Radio: DNA Could Act as Antenna

April 27, 2011 Comments off

Wired

Theoretical physicists have proposed an explanation for how bacteria might transmit electromagnetic signals: Chromosomes could act like antennae, with electrons traveling gene circuits to produce species-specific wavelengths. It’s just a hypothesis, and the notion that bacteria can generate radio waves is controversial. But according to Northeastern University physicist Allan Widom, calculations based on the properties of DNA and electrons square with what’s been measured. “For a long time, there have been signals in water. Something is happening around a Read more…