The E.Coli outbreak in Europe and mainly northern Germany has killed 16 or 17 so far with German kidney dialysis stations in the area full. It is believed organically grown bean sprouts there have been found to be infected with a deadly strain of usually harmless E.Coli, now morphed into the strain O104:H31 – so rare that it is only documented one previous time in history (Korea). The first reported case was in Germany, mid-May, in the area of Hamburg. Cases are reported in Britain, Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden. Here is a round-up of some of this breaking news.
E.Coli researcher, Dr. Helge Karch, began intense studies on stool samples, about 5 days after the first reported case. Within two days, they knew this was not a normal E.Coli. After identifying the bacteria as O104:H31, read this dramatic account of Karch’s words after finding Plague DNA (Der Spiegel May 31st):
Karch kept himself awake with coffee, and to relax he went for walks with his German shepherd. “Can you imagine what I’m going through?” he wrote in an email to Phillip Tarr at Washington University in St. Louis. His response came at 4:27 a.m.: “Epidemics are for younger men.” Tarr, the second major EHEC expert next to Karch, had also never heard of an O104:H4 outbreak.
In the email, Karch speculated over why the disease wasn’t happening in children, as is normally the case, but only in adults. And why was the infection striking more people that ever before in Germany — so many, in fact, that dialysis stations in several hospitals were almost full?…
Perhaps the genetic material of this rare bacterium has mutated again, so that its toxin or its bond to the intestinal cells it damages has become stronger.
While there are DNA sequences of The Plague, there is apparently no possibility that it can cause The Plague or The Black Plague:
On Tuesday, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Karch had discovered that the O104:H4 bacteria responsible for the current outbreak is a so-called chimera that contains genetic materia from various E. coli bacteria. It also contains DNA sequences from plague bacteria, which makes it particularly pathogenic. There is no risk, however, that it could cause a form of plague, Karch emphasized in remarks to the newspaper.
The search for data was dramatic. Researchers fanned out over the area first infected. They interviewed 25 women stricken with the E.Coli, and other healthy women living in the same area. The conclusion was that the offending bacteria came from vegetables grown low on the ground.
We heard yesterday that German bean sprouts from Lower Saxony and the town of Hamburg were the cause of the outbreak. The Wall Street Journal reported German infected bean sprouts from one farm is the ONLY source of the bacteria. The only official warning still in existence is against bean sprouts from one source.
According to the interviews carried out by the RKI, which it said included from the beginning questions about the consumption of sprouts, only 28 percent remembered doing so. In a third party case control study, the RKI specifically looked at the consumption of salad ingredients, especially sprouts, as a possible risk factor. The results showed that in one case with 112 participants, those who had eaten sprouts were 8.6 times more likely to fall ill.
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve eaten bean sprouts, I know it. Remember the alfalfa sprout infections years ago. I haven’t eaten them since.
Note that while the official warning is for the bean sprouts, Reinhard Burger, president of the federal health ministry has said Germans should continue to avoid tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers until more information is available.
Vegetable growers are upset. Spanish cucumbers were first suspected, and Spain was furious. Russia has banned all veggies from the EU. Germany wants these bans lifted. We all know how to clean our raw produce – wash them well. Der Spiegel, reminding us of how to wash, also says this:
Fruit and vegetables are only truly germ-free when cooked. And until now, washing produce with water was seen as an effective way to eliminate the risk, because it was generally understood that E. coli is only found on the surface of produce.
That was until scientists in the department of plant pathology at the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Aberdeen made an alarming discovery: The pathogens apparently felt so comfortable on the tomatoes and lettuce they studied that they migrated from the surface to lower layers of tissue to colonize the fruit.
More than twenty-one hundred Germans have been infected, but 627 are suffering from the more severe strain that damages kidneys and the nervous system – but it has traveled outside of Germany. Read more about the devastating neurological and kidney damage from this E.Coli that be permanently debilitating.