Skip to comments.Phage on the rampage - Antibiotic use may have driven the development of Europe's deadly E. coli.
Posted on 06/09/2011 8:53:08 PM PDT by neverdem
Women, beansprouts, cucumbers, bacteria, cows: the cast of the current European Escherichia coli outbreak is already a crowd. Enter the phage. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and they are star players in the chain of events that led to this outbreak.
Bacterial infections often originate from contaminated food, but it is now about six weeks since the start of this outbreak and the trail is going cold. It's hard to be sure of the culprit but this simply serves to highlight the importance of understanding how infectious bacteria get into the food chain in the first place.
Case-control studies of patients in the German outbreak pointed to salad vegetables, and both cucumbers and beansprouts have been suspects. It is possible that the vegetables were contaminated with bacteria originally carried in soil or water; but the more likely source of the bacteria is animals. Pathogenic E. coli are typically passed to humans from ruminant animals (cows or sheep) via faecal contamination in the food chain or through consumption of raw milk or meat products.
But how do pathogenic E. coli arise in the first place? This is where bacteriophage come in. The bacterium in this outbreak, currently recognised as strain O104:H4, makes Shiga toxin, which is responsible for the severe diarrhoea and kidney damage in patients whose E. coli infections develop into haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The genes for the Shiga toxin are not actually bacterial genes, but phage genes being expressed by infected bacteria. So when an E. coli bacterium gets infected with a Shiga-toxin-producing phage, it becomes pathogenic to humans.
Our use of antibiotics may be helping those viral genes to spread. If bacteria are exposed to some types of antibiotics they undergo what is called the SOS response, which induces the phage to start replicating...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Oh don't worry. I'm sure will heat up again real soon.
Westerners tend to eat cucumbers and bean sprouts raw.
One theory is that this is a terror attack:
“Bioengineering a deadly superbug
So how, exactly, does a bacterial strain come into existence that’s resistant to over a dozen antibiotics in eight different drug classes and features two deadly gene mutations plus ESBL enzyme capabilities?
There’s really only one way this happens (and only one way) — you have to expose this strain of e.coli to all eight classes of antibiotics drugs. Usually this isn’t done at the same time, of course: You first expose it to penicillin and find the surviving colonies which are resistant to penicillin. You then take those surviving colonies and expose them to tetracycline. The surviving colonies are now resistant to both penicillin and tetracycline. You then expose them to a sulfa drug and collect the surviving colonies from that, and so on. It is a process of genetic selection done in a laboratory with a desired outcome. This is essentially how some bioweapons are engineered by the U.S. Army in its laboratory facility in Ft. Detrick, Maryland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation...)."
The overuse of antibiotics is going to render them totally useless. Then people are going to start dying in droves. An overnight stay in a hospital will become a death warrant.
Who ever subsribes to this prescription is dead.
Let the freemarket sort out this out. If you don’t like bacteria infection, then don’t buy and eat raw food!
Nature news? Really?
I’m afraid you’re right. The era during which we could kill off the germs that seek to kill us will turn out to be very, very, brief.
Probably deadly only to those that make a habit of using antibiotics.
>> “the germs that seek to kill us” <<
Some people seek to kill themselves by using drugs (legal and illegal).
Use no drugs, have no fear.
>> “Who ever subsribes to this prescription is dead.” <<
Maybe a different strain of phage could be developed that gets to the E. coli first, before these toxin producing phages can.
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