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Friday, June 3, 2011

New strain of E. coli behind German outbreak

Another article from DW World :

" Health officials say a never-before-seen strain of E. coli bacteria is behind the outbreak that has killed 18 people and sickened thousands across Europe. Russia has banned all vegetable imports from the European Union.

The strain of E. coli that has killed 18 people in Europe is a new variation of the bacteria, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman said Thursday.

"This strain has never been seen in an outbreak situation before," said Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, adding that the WHO was awaiting further details from labs analyzing the bacteria.

Scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute, who are collaborating with Germany's University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, completed sequencing the genome of the bacterium and called the new strain "highly infectious and toxic."

The scientists added that the new strain carried several antibiotic resistant genes, making antibiotic treatment extremely difficult. The bacterium is similar to other strains that cause diarrhea and kidney failure."

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