Gene Profile From E Coli in German Outbreak Explains Severity

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A study of gene profile of E Coli or Escherichia Coli isolated from German patients infected in the recent epidemic explicates the reason for which it spreads so fast and that it has rigorously sickened and subsequently killed more number of people than ever before. It explains that there’s exists a rare combination of genes which supports bacteria to adhere to the intestine walls, supply toxins to bloodstream and also resist antibiotics. The Lancet Infectious Diseases published on Thursday the details of findings of researchers from Germany.’

The ongoing outbreak of E Coli O104:H4 in Germany and also some cases reported in Europe and North America are so severe, in fact nothing can be worse than this. This has sickened over 3,500 people which also include 810 who developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and bloody diarrhoea causing 40 deaths till now. With Hus the toxins which are produced by E Coli get a way to enter blood stream and destroy red blood cells thus resulting in kidney injury. The outbreak was traced to bean and seed sprouts are now growing at German organic farm.

Gene Profile

A research by researchers from University of Munster and a colleague from Robert Koch Institute, Germany was conducted in which they isolated bacteria from 80 patients and their stool samples were sent to Germany’s national Consulting laboratory for haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome. The DNA in the samples was screen at a laboratory in University of Munster, Germany. It was found that this new strain is a combination of traits from enterohaemorragic E Coli (EHEC) and enteroaggregative E Coli (EAEC).

EHEC is responsible for producing many poisons named Shiga toxins whereas EAEC sticks to the epithelial cells in the gut lining. These characteristics which were also proved by screening for known genes were although existed since last ten years still it never surfaced. However a new fact was seen which is O104:H4 strain in current outbreak also have number of genes which make it beta-lactams resistant. Beta-lactams are nothing but a class of antibiotics.

Thus researchers arrived at a conclusion that this rare combination of genes which increases the ability to adhere to gut wall, deliver toxins and is resistant to a range of antibiotics can explain the reason behind quick spreading of infection and killing of so many people. A microbial study: “Characterisation of the E Coli strain with an outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome in Germany, 2011”.