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Emerging Foodborne Diseases

For a scholarly (but accessible) article,taken from Emerging Infectious Diseases (discussed in the January 10, 1997 Scout Report), dealing with a variety of food-borne illnesses including E. coli, users can go to this site. It contains a bibliography and a more detailed discussion of the epidemiology and biology of E. coli and its associated diseases. Knowledgeable visitors will appreciate the abundance of detail offered on a number of food-borne culprits.

Escherichia coli refers to a diverse family of hundreds of bacteria, many of which are permanent residents of human intestines, serving a beneficial purpose in digestion. The potentially deadly strain that has received recent publicity was first described in 1982, and is known as E. coli O157:H7. This strain of the bacteria produces a substance known as Vero-cytotoxin, which can cause severe illness, characterized by bloody diarrhea and occasional kidney failure in children and the elderly. Symptoms normally appear between three to six days after ingestion of the bacteria. Most illness associated with E. coli has been traced to eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef, although it can also be transmitted via person-to-person contact, by eating raw milk, contaminated vegetables or apple cider, and by swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water. The organism lives in the intestine of healthy cattle, and meat can become contaminated during slaughter. Because grinding mixes the bacteria into the product, ground meats represent a greater threat than do whole cuts. Contaminated meat looks and smells normal. Raw milk can be contaminated from bacteria present on a cow's udder. It appears that even small amounts of this organism can cause severe illness.

Alternate Title
Emerging Infectious Diseases: Emerging Foodborne Diseases
Archived Scout Publication URL
Date Issued
Date of Scout Publication
September 17th, 1997
Date Of Record Creation
April 3rd, 2003 at 12:31pm
Date Of Record Release
April 3rd, 2003 at 12:31pm
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