E. Coli Outbreaks Continue…
By Hwaa Irfan
The spread of the new antibiotic resistant E. Coli O157:H7 did not stop with the banning of fenugreek seeds from Egypt as the summer sets in. Reports continue to flood in this summer, as the globalized food industry fails to seize the opportunity to evaluate and restructure the means and methods of production and distribution of processed foods leaving consumers with a choice. The 2-day conference “Prevention of E. Coli” that took place in Chicago that was organized by the North American Meat Processors Association only seemed to explore self protective measures when 6 lethal strains have been identified in a country where annually there are:
- 40,000 illnesses
- 1,100 hospitalizations
- 30 deaths
E. Coli O157:H7 has been located at a kebab house in Wales, U.K. resulting in seven falling ill, and one hospitalized. E. Coli outbreaks in the U.K. are not unusual, with the last death being that of a 5-yar old boy who died in 2005 when 44 schools in south Wales was struck by the bacterial infection. Annually the total infection rate is about 1,000 in England and Wales. In Yorkshire, England, Cruckley Animal Farm at Foston-on-the-Wolds had to be closed to the public due to an outbreak of E. Coli O157:H7. Six people were infected.
However, the U.S. is the country which is experiencing the worst outbreaks from a variety of sources including the processed food industry.
In June, E. coli O157:H7 was found in the public swimming pools Opelika Sportsplex and Aquatics Center of Alabama from which four children were hospitalized. In Tennessee, there were 5 cases, and in Cowan’s Gap State Park, Pennsylvania 14 people have been infected with 8 of those cases developing the serious complication of the kidneys, uremic syndrome (HUS) which can cause permanent damage and even death.
In July, a five year old girl became infected with E. Coli O157:H7 when hospitalized at Riley Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, and died from HUS.
In August, E. Coli O157:H7 has been found in deer droppings which had contaminated strawberries from Jaquith Strawberry Farm in Washington County as 10 people tested positive from the same strain that had caused the death of one woman in Oregon state. The E. Coli O157:H7 strain seems to be diversifying as four of those infected had a different strain of E. Coli O157:H7.
At James Cook University Hospital’s Playdays Day nursery 25 children have been infected by E. Coli O157:H7. The nursery was closed and cleansed, and had to be closed again.
In Michigan, five confirmed cases and six suspects of E. Coli O157:H7 infection was identified the day after ground beef traced to McNees Meats and Wholesale of North Branch was recalled. 60,000 pounds of ground beef was also recalled from the Ohio-based National Beef Packing Co., which is the country’s 4th largest beef processor. This recall arose from a routine inspection that found E. coli O157:H7.
Once again, we are facing the consequences of living in excess, eating more meat than our bodies are designed to consume, and producing food in a manner that compromises health of the environment, the animals and humans – quid pro quo!
“Beef Recalled in Ohio After E. coli Outbreak.” http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/197968/20110815/beef-recall-e-coli.htm
Brindley. M. “Emergency Prohibition Order for Cardiff Takeaway In E.Coli Outbreak.” http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health-news/2011/08/19/emergency-prohibition-order-for-cardiff-takeaway-in-e-coli-outbreak-91466-29264318/
“E. Coli Found In Cowans Gap Well Water.” http://www.therecordherald.com/news/x1837749956/E-coli-found-in-Cowans-Gap-well-water
Flynn, D. “Meat Industry Told to Brace for ‘Big Six’ Listing.” http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/meat-industry-told-to-brace-for-big-six-listing/
Goetz, G. “Dangerous Waters: E. Coli Threaten Swim Areas.” http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/dangerous-waters-e-coli-continues-to-threaten-summer-swim-areas/
Judd, S. “E.Coli Outbreak At James Cook University Hospital Nursery.” http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-breaking-news/2011/08/19/e-coli-outbreak-at-james-cook-university-hospital-nursery-84229-29266937/
Rothschild, M. “Nine E. Coli Cases in Michigan Ground Beef Outbreak.” http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/nine-e-coli-cases-in-michigan-ground-beef-outbreak/
Terry, L. “Oregon Confirms Deer Droppings Caused E. Coli Outbreak Tied To Strawberries.” http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2011/08/oregon_confirms_deer_droppings.html
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