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Thread: WHO says E. coli strain responsible for European outbreak is new strain never detected before

  1. #1

    Default WHO says E. coli strain responsible for European outbreak is new strain never detected before

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/russia-exte...062215566.html

    WHO says E. coli strain responsible for European outbreak is new strain never detected before

  2. #2

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    There are a couple of primary hypotheses here:

    i) this brand new "mutant" form of E coli is naturally occurring - caused either through evolution or dirty farming practices;

    ii) this brand new "mutant" form of E coli was produced in a laboratory and has escaped or been deliberately released.

    I note that Russia has closed its borders to all EU vegetables.

    Which suggests that Russia has categorized this as a national security matter.



    E coli outbreak: WHO says bacterium is a new strain

    World Health Organisation says fatal E coli is a mutant blend of two different varieties and has never been seen before


    Maev Kennedy and agencies guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 June 2011 12.22 BST

    A new and more virulent strain of the E coli bacterium caused the outbreak that has killed 17 people and left more than 1,500 ill across Europe, the World Health Organisation has announced.

    Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the WHO, told the Associated Press it was "a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before ... [its characteristics] make it more virulent and toxin-producing".

    According to the Health Protection Agency three British nationals have been infected as well as four Germans in the UK. All are believed to have caught it in Germany. Three are believed to have developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a rare and severe kidney complication that destroys red blood cells and can affect the central nervous system.

    The HPA has said it is working with the Food Standards Agency and there is no evidence of suspect produce being distributed in the UK.

    As the number of cases continues to rise , Russia has extended its ban on imports of raw vegetables from the European Union – a move condemned by Brussels as "disproportionate" – and Spain is threatening legal action over the initial attempt by Germany to blame the outbreak on imported Spanish organic cucumbers.

    Russia initially banned imports of raw vegetables from Germany and Spain but is extending the ban to all EU countries. Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor, told the Interfax news agency the deaths "demonstrate that the much-praised European sanitary legislation which Russia is being urged to adopt does not work".

    "How many more lives of European citizens does it take for European officials to tackle this problem?" he told the RIA Novosti news agency.

    Exports of all vegetables, including raw vegetables, from the EU to Russia were valued at €594m euros last year, with France, Germany and Poland the biggest exporters.

    European Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent said health commissioner John Dalli would be writing to Moscow "within hours" warning the ban was disproportionate.

    Spain is seeking compensation from Germany of its farmers, claiming lost sales are costing €200m a week and could put 70,000 people out of work.

    In Germany a health official admitted the precise source of the disease may never be traced. Reinhard Burger, head of the Robert Koch Institute, told the BBC: "I think the number of cases will come down, but how long it takes I'm not sure. It could be indeed weeks or months and I'm not sure if we will really find the source." The RKI reported 365 new cases on Wednesday and said a quarter involved a life-threatening complication.

    At the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Denis Coulombier, head of surveillance and response, said there was a strong link between the disease and consuming fresh vegetables.

    "To have such a high number of severe cases means that probably there was a huge contamination at some junction," he told Reuters. "That could have been anywhere from the farm to the fork – in transport, packaging, cleaning, at wholesalers or retailers – anywhere along that food chain."

    In Britain the HPA is urging travellers to Germany to avoid eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers or leafy salad, especially in the north of the country, and anyone returning with symptoms including bloody diarrhoea is being told to seek urgent medical attention.

    Dr Dilys Morgan, head of the HPA gastrointestinal department, said: "The HPA continues to actively monitor the situation very carefully and we are working with the authorities in Germany and with our counterparts across Europe as to the cause of the outbreak. We have alerted health professionals to the situation and advised them to urgently investigate and report suspected cases with a travel history to Germany."

    Professor Hugh Pennington, a microbiologist from the University of Aberdeeen, told the BBC that the oubreak was unusual because it didn't seem to be affecting young children. "Children under five have had a very hard time with this kind of bug in the past. They seem to be escaping it – maybe just due to the nature of the food that's causing the problem."
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  3. #3

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    Here's a source for Russia's actions:

    E coli outbreak: Russia widens EU vegetable ban

    Officials say measure will be in place until European officials inform Moscow of the disease's cause and how it is being spread


    Associated Press guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 June 2011 09.41 BST

    Russia has extended its ban on vegetable imports to all of the EU in a bid to prevent a deadly European bacterial outbreak from spreading into the country.

    Researchers are still unable to pinpoint the cause of the E coli outbreak that has hit Germany and other European countries, infecting 1,500 people and leaving 17 people dead.

    Lyubov Voropayeva, a spokeswoman for the Russian Agency for the supervision of consumer rights, said on Thursday that the ban had been imposed with immediate effect.

    The agency's chief, Gennady Onishchenko, told Russian news agencies that this "unpopular measure" would be in place until European officials inform Moscow of the cause of the disease and how it is being spread.

    "How many more lives of European citizens does it take for European officials to tackle this problem?" he said to the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.

    Russia banned fresh imports from Spain and Germany on Monday, warning of a possible extension of the sanction. No fatalities or infections have yet been reported in the country.

    The outbreak has hit at least nine European states, but nearly all the people affected either live in Germany or recently travelled there. Two people who were taken ill are now in the US; both had recently travelled to Hamburg, Germany, where many of the infections occurred.

    Medical authorities appeared no closer to discovering the source of the infection late on Wednesday. Germany's national health agency said that more than 1,530 people there had been affected by the E coli germ, including 470 suffering from a kidney failure complication that was previously considered extremely rare.

    The outbreak is already seen as the third-largest involving E coli in recent years, and it may be the deadliest. Twelve people died in a 1996 Japanese outbreak that reportedly affected more than 12,000, and seven died in a 2000 Canadian outbreak.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  4. #4

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    I'd agree that it could [with the available information and proclivities] have been either due to very bad Big Farming techniques which have been known in the past to produce toxic varieties of E. Coli - or purpose built and released. In fact, even if they track it down to one vegetable, location, farm or other such those two possibilities will still likely exist. The hardest to know will always be the second option. Many of the better books on the horrors of the cattle and chicken industries have warned of things just like this. Either way, the horror is that there are both natural [if corporate animal and plant practices can be called 'normal'] and evil laboratory 'bugs' that can and will be released that can not be treated with the drugs available today....i.e. that some % of the population will die. I know where I live fresh vegetables are not selling from nowhere! Buying from the farmer who does things himself is the safest way and a way they [the corporate farms] are trying to stamp out completely. Amazing how the American Model is destroying everything. :loo: Big Capitalism Eats It!
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  5. #5

  6. #6

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    Odd that the outbreak occurs in Germany around the same time they banned Monsantos GE maize...Just saying. :flypig:
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magda Hassan View Post
    Odd that the outbreak occurs in Germany around the same time they banned Monsantos GE maize...Just saying. :flypig:
    Interesting observation. Now, you don't think Montsanto would even think to do such a thing? - they certainly have the means and motive. Something like this could be done by one lone scientist and wouldn't need a group. Now they don't think it is Spanish cucumbers, or even cucumbers, at all. I have NO idea why they suspected that veggy in the first place. It is all quite strange, but even without bio-warfare, such will increase greatly in the future, due to the Corporate 'farming' techniques.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #8

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    Despite cucumbers being given the OK-clear and now maybe NO vegetables thought to be involved, at my local Vietnamese grocery, fruit and vegetables rot, unsold and prices are way down. NB - this article is a few days old and already outdated.
    ----------------------------------------------

    E. coli infections in Germany see significant rise

    The infections have made German shoppers wary of buying raw vegetables

    There has been a significant rise in the number of people in Europe infected by a strain of E. coli which has led to the deaths of 17 people, officials say.

    More than 1,500 people in nine nations - though mostly in Germany - have been infected by enterohaemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC), which can cause the deadly haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS).

    The death toll in Germany has risen to 16, with officials saying an 84-year-old woman with HUS had died on Sunday.

    The outbreak's source is not yet known.

    Earlier, the Spanish government said it was considering legal action against the authorities in Hamburg for wrongly blaming its produce.

    "We do not rule out taking action against the authorities who called into question the quality of our products," Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told radio Cadena Ser.

    Spain's fruit and vegetable exporters estimate they have been losing more than 200m euros ($290m; £174m) since the outbreak emerged.
    Continue reading the main story

    Start Quote

    I live in a province in Spain where a lot of farmers grow their vegetables... They feel what has happened is unjustified”
    Leon Cohen
    Castell de Ferro, Spain
    E. coli outbreak: Your views

    Germany has admitted the bacteria did not come from Spain as initially reported, but said the decision to issue the warning had been correct as a different strain of E.coli was present in Spanish cucumbers.

    "Hundreds of tests have been done and the responsible agencies... have determined that most of the patients who have been sickened ate cucumbers, tomatoes and leaf lettuce and primarily in northern Germany," German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said.

    "The states that have conducted the tests must now follow back the delivery path to see how the cucumbers or tomatoes or lettuce got here."
    'Unprecedented'

    The Robert Koch Institute, the German federal institution responsible for disease control, said on Wednesday afternoon that 1,534 people in the country had been infected by EHEC.

    EHEC is a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria, which is found in the digestive systems of cows, humans and other mammals.

    On Tuesday, the RKI reported 1169 cases of EHEC, and said 470 people were suffering from HUS, up from 373 on Monday.
    Continue reading the main story
    HUS cases and deaths, by country
    Germany: 470 cases, 16 deaths
    Sweden: 15 cases, one death
    Denmark: Seven cases
    The Netherlands: Three cases
    UK: Three cases
    Spain: One case

    Sources: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and the Robert Koch Institute, UK Health Protection Agency

    Experts said the number was unprecedented in modern medical history because HUS normally occurred in 10% of EHEC infections. They warned that the strain could be more dangerous than anything previously seen.

    "There may well be a great number of asymptomatic cases out there that we're missing," Paul Hunter, a professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia, told the Associated Press.

    "This could be a much bigger outbreak than we realise right now."

    "There might also be something genetically different about this particular strain of E. coli that makes it more virulent."

    But the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, ruled out any need for a ban on cucumbers, or for a warning against travelling to northern Germany.

    "The outbreak is limited geographically to an area surrounding the city of Hamburg," he told reporters.

    "It appears the outbreak is on the decline."
    Epileptic fits

    About half of the HUS patients in Hamburg clinics have suffered neural disorders three to five days after falling ill, such as epileptic fits and slurred speech, according to the German newspaper, Die Welt.

    Germany typically sees a maximum of 50 to 60 annual cases of HUS, which has a fatality rate of up to 5%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Unusually, more than 60% of the EHEC cases in Germany have been women - 88% over the age of 20 - and nearly 90% of the HUS cases have been women over the age of 20, officials have said.

    Experts have said this may be because women were the ones most likely to be eating fresh produce or handling food in the kitchen.

    Hundreds of tests have been carried out by laboratories across Germany

    In addition to Germany, cases of EHEC have also been reported in eight other European countries - Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, the WHO said. All but two of those infected either live in Germany or recently travelled to Germany.

    Fifteen cases of HUS and one related death have also been reported in Sweden, seven cases in Denmark, three in the Netherlands, two in the UK, and one in Spain, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

    Several countries have taken steps to curtail the outbreak, such as banning cucumber imports and removing the vegetables from sale.

    Health authorities have also advised people to wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly, to do the same with all cutlery and plates, and to wash their hands before meals.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  9. #9

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    The Germans have stopped blaming Spanish salad vegetables and have instead turned their ire on the humble beansprout:

    E coli outbreak: German officials identify beansprouts as likely source

    German health officials warn people to stop eating beansprouts as death toll rises to 22


    Staff and agencies guardian.co.uk, Sunday 5 June 2011 17.09 BST

    German health authorities claim that locally grown beansprouts have been identified as the likely cause of an outbreak of E coli that has killed 22 people and infected 1,700 people across Europe.

    Gert Hahne, a spokesman for the agriculture ministry in Lower Saxony, said an alert would be sent out immediately warning people to stop eating the sprouts, which are often used in mixed salads. It was also announced that the death toll from the outbreak had increased to 22.

    German hospitals have been struggling to cope with the flood of E coli victims, said Daniel Bahr, the health minister. Hospitals in the northern city of Hamburg, where the outbreak began three weeks ago, have been discharging patients with less serious illnesses to handle the surge of people stricken by a rare, highly toxic strain of the bacteria.

    "We're facing a tense situation with patient care," Bahr told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. He said hospitals outside Hamburg could be used to make up for "insufficient capacity" in Germany's second-largest city.

    Scientists suspect the source of the contamination may have been poor hygiene either at a farm, in transit, or in a shop or food outlet. Many of those infected have developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a potentially deadly complication attacking the kidneys.

    On Saturday, a microbiologist said officials had identified a restaurant in the northern port city of Lübeck as a possible place where the bug had been passed to humans. At least 17 people infected with E coli had eaten there.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  10. #10

    Default

    Via http://ricefarmer.blogspot.com/ for June 5-6, 2011:

    E. coli outbreak bug genes look super aggressive
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science...Top+Stories%29

    E coli outbreak: German hospitals struggling to cope
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...rman-hospitals


    I can say, as a former emergency management/medical systems planner, that the impact of such events on health care systems and institutions is significant, relveant to staffing, the health of the staffers, the need/distribution of required supplies and pharmaceuticals, and which will put a strain on institutions and drive triage processes that will impact those unaffected by the particular illness du jour. What you may see in certain areas -- especially if there are waves or concurrent disease -- is an ongoing medical disaster that will overwhelm entire regions.
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

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