E. Coli Outbreak Not Traced to Produce

The story of the recent E. Coli outbreak in Germany that resulted in the deaths of at least 12 people in Germany has failed to turn up any defined link between the disease itself and the vegetables they are being blamed on – at least so says analysis from the EU’s Reference Laboratory for E. Coli in Rome.  So if it isn’t from vegetables, where is this mysterious outbreak stemming from?  The new bacteria NDM-1 is resistant to penicillin and other means to combat its effects have been unsuccessful aside from containment.

The E. Coli outbreak has made headlines and alarmed people across the presses, but the general feeling that the matter was behind those not directly affected by it has been shattered now that the new revelation comes that the true source remains undetermined.  And while cucumbers are being blamed in the media, scientists are contending that this is a premature attribution.  To date we still do not know what is causing it.

And the mysterious bacteria NDM-1 is incredibly resistant to antibiotics.  In April the CDC warned that the new bug posed a serious threat to health worldwide, and already it appears the disease has started claiming lives.  Fourteen deaths have been attributed to the latest outbreak in Germany.

So are we looking at an outbreak on a monumental scale?  Are authorities reacting appropriately to contain the threat?  The truth is, while it’s unclear just how serious NDM-1 will be in the end, it is difficult to control or combat because of its drug resistant nature.  This came about as the result of several years of what some would describe as reckless use of antibiotics and other countermeasures designed to kill off the bacteria.  As evolution has it only those strains that are strong enough to survive the previous generation of antibiotics survived.  And so the next one is stronger and more resilient than others when it comes to penicillin.  And antibiotics have been unable to catch up.

Because antibiotic resistant bacteria are stronger than other bacteria, and do not evolve as quickly or in the same way as viruses in the way they interact with the human body, it may be difficult to develop a vaccine or drug designed to fight it.  And with public perception of vaccines In uncertain territory, it seems the possibility that we may be looking at a more serious problem than previous E. Coli outbreaks.  And of course not knowing the true source of the outbreak for sure is definitely only going to fuel speculation and apprehension over recovery efforts.

In 2010 the bacteria first appeared in India and quickly spread to other countries including the United States.  Currently the WHO and the CDC are taking the threat very seriously, but have high hopes that a means of combating the illness will be developed at some point in the near future.