Jun 26 2011

E. coli 0104 Blamed For New French Outbreak. Graehm Gray

Hello my fans and yes, the Shiga-toxin producing bacteria E. Coli 0104:H4 is now being blamed for the hospitalizations and  infections of seven people from the French city of Bordeaux. Over 40 people have been killed and thousands have been infected as a result of the German outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) associated with bean sprouts grown at an organic farm in the northern part of Germany ((Gaertnerhof farm in the village of Buenenbuettel). The culprit this time, according to French authorities, is a vegetable sprout grown from fenugreek and  mustard seeds that apparently came from a British mail order company (Thompson & Morgan). The infected victims recalled eating gazpacho topped with sprouts. The British Food Standards Agency is advising all people not to eat sprouted seeds including alfalfa, mung beans (or bean sprouts) and fenugreek unless “they are cooked until steaming hot throughout.” France also stopped the sale of fenugreek, mustard and arugula sprout seeds from the British company. No one is sure if the seeds used to make the sprouts are from the same group of seeds used to make the German sprouts. One week ago, seven children in the French city of Lille, were infected with E. coli linked to frozen ground beef.  The children, ranging in ages from 18 months to 8 years old, were being treated for the hemolytic uremic syndrome- which is a serious blood and kidney ailment. ...

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Jun 16 2011

It’s Time For Nerdel! Children Prefer Cereal With Media Characters. Graehm Gray

Hello my fans. If you were expecting another update about the Superbug E. coli* in Germany or an installment in the Best Diet in the Universe Series*, you will just have to wait. Today’s column is about our kids. Yes, that’s right, our children and what they prefer to eat. Matthew A. Lapierre and his research associates at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the preferences and tastes of children using cereals, and found that the cereal packaging showing media characters (e.g. Ronald McDonald and Shrek, etc.) and the wording “Healthy” influenced their taste and preferences.  Is this anything new? I don’t think so. Have you taken a walk down the aisle of the cereal section at your local food market? At eye level for our children to see, are box after box of their favorite cartoon characters promoting all types of cereals. Sugar coated, maple flavored, marshmallow added taste sensations abound. Chocolate bits, crunchy, chewy, and melt in your mouth images reach out to our kids as they make their way down the aisle. Haven’t we all heard , “Mommy, can I have…” Of course we have. But are they reaching out for the healthy choices? In my experience, they are not. Why? Why aren’t they picking the “Fiber Most” cereals? Well, if you look at the cereal boxes of the healthier cereals, the ones that have little to no ...

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Jun 12 2011

Superbug E. coli 0104:H4 Again Tied to Bean Sprouts. Death Rate Rises! Graehm Gray

Hello my fans and here we go again. German authorities have again said that they are looking into bean sprouts from an organic farm in Lower Saxony, as the cause of the contaminated vegetables. Meanwhile the death rate has climbed to 30 with over 3000 people infected. The organic farm in question (Gaertnerhof Farm) has apparently been shut down and is no longer sending produce to market. Authorities have said its okay to start eating tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers but to avoid bean sprouts. E. coli is a bacterium that is found in the intestines of animals and humans. Produce (fruits and vegetables), does not produce this bacteria. So the fruits and vegetables get contaminated by the manure of animals (and humans). It is also suspected that animals that are fed antibiotics to prevent infections (or treat infections), produce a resistant strain of E. coli leading to the development of the new super strains of E. coli (e.g. Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 0104:H4) we are seeing. According to the CDC: Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) infections can cause different gastrointestinal symptoms, which often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it is generally not very high (less than 101°F ). Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a disorder that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system (such as STEC) produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells and ...

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Jun 06 2011

Superbad E. coli 0104: H4 – The Update. Graehm Gray

The deadly bacteria E. coli 0104 also known as enterohaemorrhagic  E. coli (EHEC) has spread to all parts of Germany as well as most of Europe and several cases have been confirmed in the United States. Most cases involve young women between the ages of 20 – 50. Besides Germany, Sweden has the highest number of confirmed cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (a blood infection and kidney failure) as a result of the EHEC infection. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the EHEC determined in the laboratory is the serotype 0104:H4 and the specific strain is the enteroaggregative Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (EAggEC VTEC) 0104:H4. Initially reported by German health officials, bean sprouts grown at an organic farm in northern Germany (Gaertnerhof farm in the village of Buenenbuettel) were implicated as a cause of the lethal bacteria. Now that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Lower Saxony agriculture ministry did an about face and retracted the bean sprout story, apparently finding no evidence of the EHEC after testing. So the search goes on. After initially implicating Spanish cucumbers, now bean sprouts are out as a suspect, at least for now. So where do we go next? The advisory is still in effect: DO NOT EAT RAW TOMATOES, LETTUCE, BEAN SPROUTS OR CUCUMBERS when traveling in the northern part of Germany. Seek medical care if you have eaten these raw vegetables and or ...

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Jun 05 2011

Deadly E. coli Outbreak Related To Bean Sprouts: Graehm Gray

Hello my fans and welcome to another breaking news story: the cause of the deadly super E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria that has killed 22 people and affected over 2200, has been found to be related to bean sprouts grown in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Several cases of the super E. coli 0104:H4 (STEC0104:H4) bacteria have been found in the United States, in people that had traveled to Germany.  The E. coli illness has been reported in patients all over Europe and is caused by eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and bean sprouts. Apparently washing the vegetables has little effect on this super bug.  Symptoms from a crampy and bloody diarrhea to a deadly hemolytic-uremic syndrome producing kidney failure, a blood disorder and brain disease are being seen in people affected by this super bacteria.  Women  and people over the age of 20 seem to be the likely target.  Is it because women eat more salads? It also is different in that the time from exposure to onset of symptoms maybe upwards of 12 days.  And the kicker is that it seems to be resistant to all of our available antibiotics! This bacteria produces a toxin (Shiga toxin) which is a byproduct produced by some bacteria. The problem is that when the antibiotics kills the bacteria, the toxins are released and some of these toxins are more deadly than ...

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