Saturday, June 4, 2011

Scientists rush to sequence deadly new E. coli strain

Europe is currently suffering through what has now become the most deadly outbreak of E. coli bacteria on record. Although strains of this bacteria reside harmlessly in our guts (and in molecular biology labs around the world), others have picked up genes that enable them to resist antibiotics and cause hemorrhaging. That seems to be the case with the strain that's causing problems in Europe, as the first characterizations of the bacteria suggests they belong to a strain that was previously not on epidemiologists' radar screens.

The spread of the infection, which is centered in Germany, is being tracked by the World Health Organization's European branch and Eurosurveillance . As of today, health authorities have identified 1,733 cases in Germany, 17 of which have been fatal. About 90 additional cases have been reported in 11 other countries, and one of those was fatal; that's enough to make this the most lethal E. coli outbreak yet.

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Vogue Charlize Theron Eva Mendes Sarah Polley Aisha Tyler

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