16 Nov

Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli

Recently 28 people have been reported to be infected with shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli.  Most of the cases have been reported from New York state and 42% of the infected people have been hospitalized.  Two of the people infected have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome which is a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.  An organic spinach from a farm in Massachusetts is believed to have produced the contaminated spinach after authorities analyzed left over spinach at the home of those infected.  Children under the age of 5, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems are at the greatest risk of serious illness and should be most cautious of this outbreak.  Scientists are using pulse field gel electrophoresis to identify the DNA of this bacteria and ultimately confirm whether its the cause of the illness.  Pulse field gel electrophoresis is used to separate larger DNA fragments from one another.