Welcome - willkommen!

Blogging in English und auf Deutsch.
English: A key topic of this blog certainly is Bullying, and what can be done against it.
Deutsch: Ein Kernthema dieses Blogs is ganz sicherlich Mobbing, und was dagegen getan werden kann.
E: There are still lots of other topics here, too - feel free to cruise around and take a look :-)!
D: Es gibt aber auch noch viele andere Themen - schaut Euch einfach um :-)!
E: I look forward to comments on my blog entries!
D: Ich freue mich über Kommentare zu meinen Blog-Einträgen!

In the banner picture: Libera.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Escherichia coli - Arrest the Usual Suspects

Escherichia coli - for friends: E. coli


This image is a work of the National Institutes of Health,
part of the
United States Department of Health and Human Services.
As a work of the U.S. federal government,
the image is in the public domain.
Anm: Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.

Do you recognize these guys? I bet you never saw them before - well, at least I didn't. The fun thing is: You know them. Well, their relatives. You know millions of them ... because they are inside of you. And me. And you over there, too - yep, you better believe it!

In fact, they live in all of us!

Yes, they live, and move, and swim, they are looking for food, and they even are a part of humans' natural immune system; one of their finest merits: These guys produce vitamin K.

Okay okay: I am no microbiological expert ... not even a layman, haha. If you want to get deeper into the topic, a visit at Wikipedia might be a good first step ... and then venture on through the jungle of expert publications, as far as you dare.

I guess in these days, many of us become some kind of hobby researchers of sorts, because these tiny, and basically harmless, fellas in the picture (or better: Gazillions of their relatives) have stirred quite a bit of commotion in Germany - in the bowels of infected persons as well as in the media!

"Raawrr ... Chaaaarge!"


This image is in the public domain
because it contains materials
that originally came from the
Agricultural Research Service,
he research agency of the
United States Department of Agriculture.
It's not clear yet what was the actual cause for the current E. coli epidemic, but for some reason, some strains of those bacteria (aha, finally a medical term!) are not quite as friendly and sociable as the general majority, and they start to play mean on us - producing toxic substances, that then actually poison the host, aka us. 

Well, hopefully not us, here and now - you, and me, dear reader ... I hope you are at best health!

Still: If you get infected by one of those virulent tribes, all of a sudden, it's Armageddon time! A friend of mine has been through such a E. coli poisoning, and she's had the time of her life for ten days straight ... hell time, that is.

Now you might think that such an ordain might come as nature's retribution for living an unhealthy life. Would be only logical, kinda ... But no! This friend of mine, for all I know, lives a fairly healthy life, and she only had a mixed salad and a "Mettbrötchen" (German for "smoked sausage spread bun"). That does not sound too hazardous, does it? But it did the trick. Some time after that meal, the roller coaster of torment took her on a ten days ride!

Obviously, the "usual suspects" for this kind of food poisoning, which would be meat like beef, sheep, goat, and also unpasteurized milk, have an alibi this time, and go free. Instead, research done in this latest case of E. coli epidemic point to vegetables as the triggers for the infection!

First, Spanish cucumbers were in the investigators' focus. In the meantime, los pepinos Espanoles have been cleared of this suspicion - and the Spanish government thinks of possibly suing for compensation because of the hysteria rushing down, as they lost an estimated 200 million € per week due to countries all of a sudden blocking the import of their cucumbers. Quite a sum ...
(Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/01/e-coli-germany)

Second in row were soy bean sprouts that are manufactured on a farm in Northern Germany. I have no idea how investigators get to their hunches and conclusions, but there it was: The Yellow Peril - China's revenge on German health food eaters for ... for ... hmm, no idea what for. But also this suspicion could not be verified; the sprouts were exonerated.

Current state of investigations: Lettuce, tomatoes and ... cucumbers - but this time from outside of Spain, I guess. And the case is pending ...


I do not take this epidemic lightly, indeed. More than 20 people died in Germany until now of this infection, and over 2,000 have been reported sick. And I hope that all of those who suffer at the moment will get well again.

But this situation really makes you wonder: What to eat? How to do your body and mind something good? Are vegetables really Health Food, or more like Stealth Food, waiting for their chance to launch a hit? Meat - important source of protein, or Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, piggybacked by hidden attackers? Cereal and whole grain - well balanced nutrition and aiding the digestion, or time bombs due to possible fungi infections?

I think we should from now on start a zig-zag course through the food display - a little bit of this, a little bit of that, change course and preferences at random, and never focus on one treat too long ... because obviously Nature is on our heels!


Literature on the topic:

Carl Zimmer, "Parasite Rex"

Jessica Snyder Sachs, "Good Germs and Bad Germs"




geriatric1927 said...

As an Public Health Inspector many years ago I am well aware of the difficulties of detecting the source of an outbreak of food poisoning. It is a matter of interviewing all of those people infected to and asking about all of the food that they ate in the past few days and not only that but where they bought it from and possibly examining any of the food that might still be left so it is a long tedious job. As in Germany the wrong conclusions can sometimes be reached which adversely affects the suppliers. I hope that they do get to the source and can finally relieve all the suffering.

donsden93 said...

Glad ur ok MIchael&I should have known u'd be on top of this in ur blog.I'll try 2 read more of urs as school is ending&I mite have more time.great blog! Tnx,DONNIE