Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"E. coli Outbreak in Europe-STEC O104:H4-What It Means For You & Your Family" By Reverend Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

 courtesy: http://lci.tf1.fr/lexique/concombres-contamines-ce-qu-il-faut-savoir-6510062.html
UPDATE: 6/1/11  Be careful with what you hear on the news.  There are conflicting reports from various reporting agencies regarding either an increase or decrease in numbers of deaths and illness in the form of HUS from STEC O104:H4.  Reports thus far have been from 'unidentified and/or unsubstantiated sources' (and in the case of two alleged U.S. deaths from 'unidentified state sources).  Rest assured that once verifiable scientific data is available, Rev. Barbara Sexton will provide you with LINKS and  the most accurate information possible, along with her unique 'translation of the biomedicalese' for those who wish to understand it all.  Stay tuned.
_________________________________________________________ 
Dear Readers:
     There is a serious situation in Europe today regarding a great number of illnesses and deaths attributed to an  E. coli bacteria.
     By now you've read enough to know that there are many specifics 'types' of  E. coli bacteria, some more infectious than others.  
     The strain under consideration here is extremely RARE and has not, to date, been found in the United States.
     A recent CDC statement can be found below, which I will break down for you as best as I can.
     Please also 'click on' keywords below of interest to you for additional articles I have written to help you keep yourselves and your families as healthy as you can be.
     Here are some points of communal importance for us all:
---The RKI below in Germany is the equivalent of the CDC in the U.S.
---The RKI has so far confirmed 6 deaths and 373 patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or (HUS) (kidney failure), a life-threatening complication of E. coli infections.  This number is subject to change and will likely increase at any time.
---Given the extremely contagious nature of this outbreak, it is more imperative than ever that all TSA Officers regularly change their gloves and maintain high standards of hygiene for themselves and for the passengers they 'serve'.
     Remember that a TSA Officer's shirt/sleeve/wrist/glove/arm contaminated with fecal matter after a under-the-belt 'pat down' of a person suffering with a STEC 0104:H4 infection can infect many more persons, not to mention the TSA Officer themselves and their own families.  Good sanitation WORKS!  
     Infants and young children who travel are at particular risk at this time, so parents you must be extra vigilant and assertive, especially as youngsters seem to be singled out more and more for 'hands on' inspection by the TSA!
---The strain in question is E. coli O104:H4 is also known as STEC.  'STEC' stands for 'Shiga toxin-producing E. coli'.
---Note that it is the TOXIN which does the most damage during severe infection with 'STEC' E. coli.
---Signs and symptoms of infection with  STEC O104:H4 are VERY obvious.  Even non-lethal cases present with severe cramps and bloody diarrhea with nausea and vomiting.  The patient will 'feel very sick'.  PARENTS: IF YOUR CHILD OR OTHER LOVED ONE HAS THE SLIGHTEST INDICATION OF HAVING CONTRACTED AN INFECTION OF THIS SORT, SEEK MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY.  DO NOT DELAY.  Infants, children, the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions and those who are immuno-compromised are at particular risk of developing severe, life-threatening complications such as kidney failure ( hemolytic uremic syndrome aka HUS)
---The 'Shiga-toxin' produced by this food-borne bacteria does it's damage by literally destroying the mucosal lining of the intestines with attendant hemorrhaging which results in the so-called 'bloody diarrhea'.  This toxin destroys all other body tissues, as well.  If and when the infection overwhelms the body, major organ failure is induced and death is inevitable.
----Even 'non-life-threatening' STEC O104:H4 infections can result in severe anemia (lack of sufficient red blood cells), dehydration and other sequelae.  Weakness and a sense of debilitation can persist afterwards for a long time.
---All body fluids/substance (especially feces, blood, urine, vomit) of a person infected with STEC O104:H4 should be considered 'infectious'.
---Thus far, no cases of STEC O104:H4 are reported in the U.S.A., but with modern travel, it is entirely possible that this strain will make itself known here soon enough.  
     Remember that E. coli bacteria, whatever the 'type',  live in the intestines of warm-blooded vertebrates and are carried thus.  E. coli species and subspecies USED TO BE 'species-specific', meaning that cows had bovine E. coli, while humans only had human-type E. coli.  
     But things have changed and these strains can 'cross infect' and worse, different bacterial genuses hitherto thought to be UNABLE to 'conjugate and exchange genetic material' have done just THAT...ergo the emergence of 'superinfectious strains' like the E. coli O157:H7 the United States is familiar with.
---Just because no cases of STEC O104:H4 haven't been reported in the United States or in U.S. Service Members stationed in Germany does NOT mean that they will not be.  Be alert!  Stay aware.
---Remembering that initial outbreaks of E.coli disease years ago were linked to hamburger meat, bear in mind that subsequent outbreaks in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world have been linked to various fruits, vegetables and just about any edible foodstuffs.
---The initial reports implicate CUCUMBERS, lettuce and tomatoes in Germany, as the source of the STEC 0104:H4, but this does not necessarily mean that that is the sole source of the infection.
---Understand that much 'under reporting' is due to the fact that healthy individuals with relatively 'mild' cases of food-borne illness never see a physician or other health care provider, let alone 'get reported' in accordance with state and federal protocols.
---Be aware that given the fact that STEC O104:H4 is very rare and that it is suddenly the source of such major infection, there is the possibility of deliberate tampering with the food supply.
      Fortunately, it is possible to conduct epidemiological forensic work akin to DNA analysis and all types of 'fingerprinting' on these microbes, not that the public will ever necessarily know the truth if tampering is discovered in a limited outbreak.
---The above said, nature has no equal when it comes to rapid development and spread of contagion, especially in the modern world with long-distance travel of persons, produce and products, traditional overuse of antimicrobials, depressions of immune systems due to environmental factors and medical intervention and human frailties.
     Finally, I once again urge that you all maintain HIGH PERSONAL HYGIENE STANDARDS.
     Carry antimicrobial gel with you and use it constantly.  Teach children to do the same.
     Remember that a flushing toilet 'shoots' an aerosolized mist a good six feet into the room, at least.  Store toothbrushes and personal care items well away from and/or protected from toilet 'spray'.
     Keep hands and fingers away from the face, out of the mouth/nose/eyes/ears, etc.
     Thoroughly wash ALL produce with a small amount of dish detergent and water and scrub with a vegetable brush.  Of course, be sure to rinse away all trace of 'soap smell'.
     I do not recommend the regular use of a bleach solution to disinfect food, unless sanitation conditions are at an all-time low.
     Certain foods such as lettuce and berries cannot be washed clean enough to be safe to eat if they are, indeed, contaminated with a pathogenic microbe such as those discussed here.
     Try to buy from reputable sources and organic if you can afford it.  But understand that eating tainted food is always a possibility under the best of conditions.
     Do note that even if ALL BACTERIA and other microbes are removed or killed before eating, TOXINS can STILL BE PRESENT which cannot be 'cooked or cleaned away'.
     It is better to 'do without' when in doubt, rather than risk your health and that of your family.
     That's it for now and be sure to check www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com regularly for updates as this situation with STEC O104:H4 unfolds.
     If you'd like to sign up for my FREE NEWSLETTER and get my latest news right in your mailbox, sign up below.
     Please be careful in this age of 'superbugs'.
May God Bless & Keep You
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"
www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com
Questions/Comments: down below or email Rev. Barb at BarbaraKSexton@aol.com 
LINK for article below:  http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/s0601_ecoligermany.html?s_cid=2011_s0601_ecoligermany
CDC Statement on Outbreak of STEC O104:H4 infections in Germany
CDC is following a large outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O104, or STEC O104, infections currently going on in Germany. As of May 31, 2011, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's disease control and prevention agency, has confirmed six deaths and 373 patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or (HUS) (kidney failure), a life-threatening complication of E. coli infections.
To date, no confirmed cases of STEC O104 infections have been reported in U.S. travelers to Europe. Two cases of HUS in the United States have been reported in persons with recent travel to Hamburg, Germany. CDC is working with state health departments to learn more about these two cases and to identify others. CDC has been in contact with the German public health authorities at RKI. We have alerted state health departments in the United States of the ongoing outbreak. We have also requested that they report to CDC any cases in which people have either HUS or Shiga toxin-positive diarrheal illness, with illness onset during or after travel to Germany since April 1, 2011.
The strain of STEC causing illness, STEC O104:H4, is very rare. CDC is not aware of any cases of STEC O104:H4 infection ever being reported in United States. Any person with recent travel to Germany with signs or symptoms of STEC infection or HUS, should seek medical care and let the medical provider know about the outbreak of STEC infections in Germany and the importance of being tested. Symptoms of STEC infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, which is often bloody, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high. Most people get better within 5–7 days, but some patients go on to develop HUS—usually about a week after the diarrhea starts. Symptoms of HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color to skin and membranes due to anemia.
CDC is not aware that a specific food has been confirmed as the source of the infections. Travelers to Germany should be aware that the German public health authorities have recommended against eating raw lettuce, tomatoes or cucumbers, particularly in the northern states of Germany (Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Schleswig Holstein). We have no information that any of these suspected foods have been shipped from Europe to the United States at this time. The US Department of Defense has been notified of this outbreak because of the presence of U.S. military bases in Germany. We are not aware of any cases among U.S. military personnel.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions:
  1. Would this be the largest E. coli outbreak ever in the world?

    We are still learning more about the overall size of this outbreak. The number of HUS cases involved indicates that the outbreak is very large.
  2. Tell us about this rare strain and are we testing for it here?

    A very rare strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC has been reported from some patients in the outbreak. This strain, E. coli O104:H4 has never been seen in the United States, and CDC is only aware of few reports of this strain from other countries. Although it is rare, the United States' public health surveillance systems are designed to be able to identify this, and other rare STEC strains, in ill people. However, the ability to detect STEC infections through surveillance depends on proper diagnostic testing of patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of STEC. In 2009, CDC published recommendations for the diagnosis of STEC infections by clinical laboratories. The illness that it causes is similar to that caused by E. coli O157:H7 which is also a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and the one most commonly identified in the United States.
  3. Could people travel from Germany and spread it here?

    STEC infections can be spread from person to person. The best defense is careful, thorough hand washing. Persons returning from Germany who have diarrhea should be sure to wash hands well with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, and should not prepare food for others while they are ill. People who are in contact with ill people who recently visited Germany should also follow basic hygiene practices carefully, including washing their hands thoroughly before eating or drinking and after caring for an ill person.
  4. Why so many sick people?

    It is too early to know why this is such a large outbreak. The large size may have to do with contamination of a popular food item. However, to our knowledge a specific food vehicle has yet to be confirmed. It is also possible that the unusual strain is particularly likely to cause HUS. 

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