MadSci Network: Microbiology

Re: O-157

Area: Microbiology
Posted By: Chris Yost, Grad student Microbiology
Date: Sat Jul 27 16:07:01 1996


There has been a lot of publicity concerning E. coli O-157:H7 lately.  This
is partly because it is summer time and many people are cooking outside using
barbeques.  How can this observation be linked to E. coli O-157:H7?  The major
form of transmission of E. coli O-157:H7 is by ingesting uncooked meat products.
Some people are not cautious enough when they cook meat and as a 
consequence the meat does not reach a temperature sufficient to kill the E.coli.
Therefore the best way to avoid infection is to ensure that the meat you are 
ingesting has been properly cooked.  Food preperation is also an important 
prevention method.  A person handling raw meat should wash their hands 
before handling other food products and any plate or utensil which has come
in contact with raw meat should be washed before it contacts other food 
products.  I am not an expert on this topic and a more complete disscussion
of E. coli O-157:H7 can be found on the web page Bugs in the News

To answer your second question, which E. coli strain is the most pathogenic, I 
suggest that you consult The Bad Bug Book
This web page contains descriptions of the four main classes of pathogenic 
E. coli strains.  It also provides some epidemological information concerning
each strain.  This information should give you insight into the different 
pathogenic strains of E. coli and the disease symptoms they cause.  Keep in
mind that most E. coli infections result in varying intensities of flu like
symptoms and that a healthy human will be able to surive the infection.  The
danger is to infants, elders and immunocomprimised individuals.

I hope this information provides you with some "leads" that will help you
satisfy your curiosity.

Chris Yost  

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