E. coli

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Benjamin, Georges C.Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Planning for the WorstPhysician Executive Volume 26 Issue 1. 80. January/February 2000.

  1. ”Chemical or biological terrorism is the use of pathogenic microbes or toxins derived from plants, animals, microbes, or chemical agents to achieve terror.” – page 80
  2. ”Chemical and biological weapons, like nuclear weapons, are categorized as weapons of mass destruction (WMD) because of the high number of potential victims that can result from their use.” – page 80
  3. ”While any chemical can be weaponized, the chemical agents traditionally of concern fall into four categories: nerve agents like sarin, which create an anticholinergic-like syndrome; vesicants like mustard gas, that cause a blistering or burn-like syndrome; cyanide, which interrupts aerobic metabolism; and riot control agents such as mace, which generally cause incapacitation.” – page 80
  4. ”Biological agents act like chemical agents but have a slower onset of action. Agents of concern include Ricin.” – page 81
  5. ”The ideal bioweapon is hard to detect from the usual microbial flora, has person-to-person spread, and is easy to aerosolize. There are two groups of organisms of public health concern: those that cause a high morbidity or a high mortality.” – page 81
  6. ”Examples of high morbidity organisms include salmonella, cholera, or E. coli. The number of highly toxic organisms is fortunately quite low and includes anthrax, smallpox, and the viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers, plague, brucellosis, and tularemia.” – page 81
  7. ”Clues that biological terrorist events have occurred include an unexplained increase in respiratory cases or deaths, or dead and dying animals. Epidemiological clues include diseases with the wrong mode of transmission, which occur in an inappropriate geographic distribution or infect a new or novel population.” – page 81
  8. ”Components of a biological/chemical terrorism disaster plan: plan how to identify the threat; develop an effective public health disease surveillance system; link the public health system and the traditional medical care delivery system; develop command and control systems; determine hospital bed availability; define disease containment, isolation, and quarantine procedures; plan how to obtain extra life support equipment such as respirators; plan how to train clinical staff to identify high-risk unusual diseases; ensure non-clinical staff are trained on the management of suspicious packages and mail; identify experts; plan simple handling and transport; plan how to communicate high risk information; manage medical examiner cases; and maintain a crime scene.” – page 81
  9. ”Effective disease control strategies such as case finding, decontamination, prophylaxis and vaccination, and quarantine must be defined.” – page 82

Chemical, WMD, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Military, Sarin, Japan, Ricin, E. coli, Cholera, Salmonella, Anthrax, Smallpox, Hemorrhagic Fever, Plague, Brucellosis, Tularemia, Prophylaxis, Vaccination, Quarantine


Moss,  Michael, “Companies Strike Deal on testing for E. Coli,NYT, A23, Oct. 8, 2009.

  1. “Costco said Wednesday that they had struck a new accord on testing for the pathogen E. Coli.”
  2. “some of the largest slaughterhouses have resisted the added scrutiny for fear that one grinder’s discovery of E. coli will lead to expanded recalls of beef sent to other grinders.”
  3. “‘The U.S.D.A. is supposed ti be protecting public health and at the same time be promotig agricultural products, and my view is that those two things don’t mix,’ said Representative Rosa DeLauro.”

E. coli, Oversight, Public Health


Harris, Gardiner, “E. Coli Kills 2 And Sickens Many Others; Focus on Beef,” NYT, A12, Nov. 3, 2009.

  1. “The New hampshire resident who died of it contracted hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that attacks red blood cells and can cause kidney failure.  The New Yorker who died was an adult from Albany County who had several underlying health problems.”
  2. “Donna Rosenbaum, executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority, a food safety organization said … ‘contamination problems are not found by any checks on the products by companies.  They’re found when people get sick, and that’s a failure in the system.”

E. coli, Oversight, Public Health


Moss, Michael, “E. Coli Outbreak Traced to Company That Halted Testing of Ground beef,” NYT, A14, Nov. 13, 2009.

  1. “it was linked to an outbreak that has killed two people and sickened an estimated 500 others.”
  2. “E. Coli outbreaks in ground beef, which have now reached 18 since 2007, that the beef trimmings commonly used to make ground beef are more susceptible to contamination because the pathogen thrives in cattle feces that can get smeared on the surfaces of whole cuts of meat.”
  3. “But while slaughterhouses seek ti limit such contamination, and conduct their own testing for the pathogen, they have resisted independent testing by grinders for fear that it would cause expanded recalls.”
  4. “The United States Department of Agriculture, which banned the deadly E. Coli strain known as 0157:H7 in 1994, has encouraged — but does not require — meat companies to test their products for the pathogen.  In the absence of such a rule, meat companies have adopted varied practices.”

E. coli, Oversight, Public Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture


Neuman, William, “In E. Coli Fight, Some Strains Are Largely Ignored,” NYT, May 26, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/business/27bugs.html?scp=1&sq=e.%20coli&st=cse, last checked June 23, 2010.

  1. “But as everyone focused on controlling that particular bacterium, known as E. coli O157:H7, the six rarer strains of toxic E. coli were largely ignored.”
  2. “Collectively, those other strains are now emerging as a serious threat to food safety. In April, romaine lettuce tainted with one of them sickened at least 26 people in five states, including three teenagers who suffered kidney failure.”
  3. “For three years, the United States Department of Agriculture has been considering whether to make it illegal to sell ground beef tainted with the six lesser-known E. coli strains, which would give them the same outlaw status as their more famous cousin. The meat industry has resisted the idea, arguing that it takes other steps to keep E. coli out of the beef supply and that no outbreak involving the rarer strains has been definitively tied to beef.”
  4. “‘This is something that we really have to look at,’ said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who plans to introduce a bill that would pre-empt the Agriculture Department by declaring a broad range of disease-causing E. coli to be illegal in ground beef and requiring the meat industry to begin testing for the microbes.”
  5. “Part of the problem is that so little is known about the rarer E. coli strains, which have been called the “big six” by public health experts. (The term refers to the fact that, after the O157 strain, these six strains are the most virulent of a group of related E. coli.) Few food companies test their products for the six strains, many doctors do not look for them and only about 5 percent of medical labs are equipped to diagnose them in sick patients.”
  6. “A physiological quirk of E. coli O157 makes it easy to test for in the lab, and many types of food are screened for it. The other E. coli strains are much harder to identify and testing can be time-consuming.”
  7. “Earthbound Farm, the nation’s largest producer of organic salad greens, is one of the few companies that does screen for the full range of toxic E. coli, and it has found a worrisome incidence of the rarer strains. Out of 120,000 microbial tests last year, about one in 1,000 showed the presence of unwanted microbes, mostly the six strains.”
  8. “The O157 strain of E. coli is a frightening bug, causing bloody diarrhea and sometimes kidney failure, which can be fatal. Some of the six strains cause less severe illness, but others appear to be just as devastating as the O157.”
  9. “The toxic E. coli bacteria originate in the guts of cattle, putting the beef industry on the front line.”
  10. “The beef industry now routinely tests for the O157 strain, but there is no regular testing for the other six strains.”
  11. “The agency, [FDA] which regulates produce, is waiting for Congress to pass a law that would greatly expand its food safety authority.”

E. coli, Law


Associated Press, “35,000 pounds of beef recalled for E.coli fears:Affected meat was shipped to restaurants in the Los Angeles area,” June 23, 2010 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37878769/ns/health-food_safety/?gt1=43001

  1. “A Southern California meat distributor has recalled some 35,000 pounds of ground-beef that might be contaminated with E. coli.”
  2. “The USDA says department personnel discovered the problem through microbiological sampling.”

E. coli


Glazier K.,Cargill: E. coli cattle vaccine promising,” Denver Post, November 16, 2010, Last accessed November 26, 2010 http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_16623151#ixzz15TA1ycgW

  1. “International food marketer Cargill announced Monday the initial results of a trial for the new vaccine, a test involving 85,000 cattle at the company’s Fort Morgan beef-processing facility.”
  2. “Schaefer said Cargill was awaiting results from other researchers across the nation but that the company had plans to conduct a second trial next summer at a Midwest processing plant. The cattle had no negative reaction to the vaccine, Schaefer said.”
  3. “He said the vaccinated Fort Morgan animals showed positive immune system response and low levels of the strain of E. coli bacteria that can sicken and kill human beings if consumed. But Schaefer said nonvaccinated cattle at Fort Morgan also showed low levels of E. coli. A variety of factors influence E. coli levels in cattle, Schaefer said, including weather, living conditions and vaccine dosage.”
  4. “Minnesota-based pharmaceutical company Epitopix developed the vaccine used in the trial. It received initial testing approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in February 2009.”

Vaccination, Public Health, E. coli


Zarfel, Gernot & Hoenigl, Martin. “Emergence of New Delhi Metallo- β-Lactamase, Austria“. CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 17, January 2011.

  1. “New Delhi metallo-β- lactamase (NDM-1) was first detected in a Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate in 2008 from a Swedish patient of Indian origin; it has since been reported in increasing numbers of infections in patients from India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom” (pg 1).
  2. “NDM-1 shares very little identity with other metallo-β-lactamase enzymes” (pg. 1)
  3. “However, the emergence of NDM-1 poses the risk of plasmid-mediated transfer of the carbapenemase enzyme blaNDM-1 between different bacterial strains, which could lead to serious public health issues” (pg. 1)
  4. “So far, NDM-1 carbapenemase has been detected in K. pneumoniae, Escherichia coliCitrobacter freundii, Enterobacter cloacae, and Morganella morganii and has shown resistance to nearly all classes of antibacterial agents, except polymyxins and tigecycline” (pg.1 and 2).
  5. “Kumarasamy et al. recently reported the identification of 37 isolates with NDM-1 in the United Kingdom. The isolates came from 29 patients, of whom at least 17 had traveled to India or Pakistan in the year preceding identification of NDM-1; 14 patients had been to a hospital in those countries” (pg. 2)

NDM-1, Pakistan, E. coli


Lubick, Naomi, “Tools for Tracking Antibiotic Resistance“, Environmental Health Perspectives. May 2011.

  1. ““Misuse of antibiotics is obviously what creates the basic factors that produce drug resistance,” says Mario Raviglione” (Pg. 2)
  2. “Agricultural use of human drugs adds to the threat of drug resistance.” (Pg. 2)
  3. “They also have identified antimicrobial resistance genetic material in treated waste effluent and tap water in Michigan and Ohio,25,26 and researchers in Sweden recently documented multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli in the waste of migrating birds in the Arctic” (Pg. 2)
  4. “In particular, monitoring is now lacking. “If anything, we don’t know enough about developing countries to understand the situation—what resistant bacteria are there?”” (Pg. 3)
  5. “This device, connected to the Internet or with databases preloaded, could use the sequence to identify the microbes present to the genus or even species level, then spot genes they might carry for resistance to certain drugs. The test could potentially even predict the effectiveness of specific drugs in individual patients.” (Pg. 4)

Public Health, Bioterrorism, Drug Resistance, E. coli, NDM-1
Goetz, Gretchen, “Wave of Mysterious E. Coli Outbreaks Hits U.S.,” Food Safety News, October 28, 2011 http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/10/wave-of-mysterious-e-coli-outbreaks-hits-us/ Last Checked November 3, 2011

  1. “None of them had been traced back to a source, making it impossible for authorities to warn customers about what foods or locations to avoid in order protecting them.”
  2. “‘This strain of E. coli is very potent and troublesome,’ said Dr. Robert Graham, Medical Director at the Mid-Michigan District Health Department.”

E. coli, Public Health


Associated Press, “Vials of E. coli found in Ark. Apartment,” 2/12/12. MSN.com, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46363286/ns/health-health_care/ Last checked 2/13/12

  1. ”A maintenance man cleaning out the unit at the Willow Creek Apartments on Friday found 25 vials marked “E. coli ” in a foam box in a refrigerator, officials said.”
  2. ”An Arkansas National Guard hazardous material crew spent most of Friday afternoon and night securing the bacteria and removing it from the apartment, Fire Battalion Chief Marty Hamrick told the Jonesboro Sun for a story in Sunday’s editions.”
  3. ”The vials were of medical-grade quality but there wasn’t enough danger for officials to evacuate the complex, Hamrick said.”
  4. ”Hamrick said his comments were limited by federal privacy law but officials don’t believe there was anything criminal connected with the discovery.”
  5. ”Jonesboro Assistant Fire Chief Alan Dunn told KAIT-TV that initial tests by firefighters showed no contamination. Testing by the 61st Combat Support Team from Little Rock also found no contamination.”
  6. ”Dr. Carl Abraham, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at St. Bernards Medical Center, said E. coli bacteria is often shipped in foam containers to medical centers and universities. However, he said it would be ‘very strange’ to find vials of it inside an apartment or a home.”

E. coli, Emergency Response, Law, Information Policy


Chiaramonte, Perry, “E. coli vials found in Arkansas apartment used to treat aliment,” FoxNews, February 13, 2012,  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/13/e-coli-vials-found-in-arkansas-apartment-used-for-aliment/
last checked 2/14/12.

  1. ”Two dozen vials of E. coli were left in the refrigerator of two Arkansas college students when they vacated their apartment.”
  2. ”The bizarre discovery Friday set off a storm of panic, as state and federal agencies sent HazMat teams to the apartment complex in Jonesboro, Ark. Two of the vials were unsealed…”
  3. ”One of the tenants was located by authorities and said that his roommate, who returned a week ago to his native home of South Africa had the vials to treat an ailment, officials said.”
  4. ”Certain strains of E. coli are used to treat a number of gastrointestinal ailments, including irritable bowel disorder.”
  5. ”A maintenance worker who was cleaning out the apartment found the vials, marked “E-Coli,” inside a foam container after opening the refrigerator, officials said. He notified the building manager, who called the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Local authorities, along with the National Guard, immediately shut down the area and spent a majority of the day securing the medical-grade vials for removal.”

E. coli, Emergency Response, South Africa


Schnirring, Lisa, “E coli outbreak linked to frozen snacks sickens 24 in 15 statesCIDRAP, March 29, 2013, http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/mar2913coli.html Last checked April 2, 2013

  1. “Federal and state health officials are investigating a multistate Escherichia coli O121 outbreak that has so far sickened 24 people in 15 states and sparked a recall of a New York company’s frozen chicken quesadillas and other snacks.”
  2. “Rich Products Corp, based in Buffalo, has recalled about 196,000 pounds of various heat-treated but not fully cooked mini meals and other snack items, according to a statement yesterday from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).”
  3. “E coli O121 is one of the six strains that accounts for 80% of non-O157 E coli infections.”
  4. “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the six strains cause about 112,000 illnesses each year, roughly a third of them linked to ground beef.”
  5. “Some of the recalled products fall under US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction, but the FSIS included all of the items in its notice so the public is aware of all the products that may be contaminated.”
  6. “The products, distributed nationally, were made between Nov 12 and 19 but have “best by” dates in May and could still be in consumers’ freezers.”
  7. “Besides the chicken quesadillas, the recalled Farm Rich products include cheese-pepperoni mini pizza slices, Philly cheese steaks in a crispy crust, and mozzarella bites.”
  8. “Investigations revealed that eight infected patients in Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia reported eating Farm Rich products.”

E. coli