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Tue Jun 7, 2011 18:52 (XFF:

Germany Official Visit Arrival Ceremony

Over 20 people dead and over 2,100 ill, many gravely.

Where did this strain of e coli come from?

It's never been seen before.

It is immune to eight different classes of antibiotics.

This means the original strain was exposed to eight different strains seqeuntially with each immune strain being exposed to the next drug until immunity was developed to that.

This only happens in laboratories.

What laboratory did this, how did it end up on a German sprout factory - and most importantly, why was this done?

The last question will be answered when new laws and new technologies are imposed to "solve" the problem.

The World Health Organization says the E. coli outbreak in Germany is a completely new strain of the bacteria.

The infection can cause the deadly complication - haemolytic-uraemic syndrome - affecting the blood and kidneys.

More than 1,500 people have been infected and 17 have died: 16 in Germany and one in Sweden.

In the UK, three British nationals have been infected - all had visited Germany.

Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, a WHO spokesperson, is reported as saying: "This strain has never been seen in an outbreak situation before."

Scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute, in China, are also reported as saying: "This E.coli is a new strain of bacteria that is highly infectious and toxic."

Preliminary genetic analysis of the outbreak suggests the bacteria is unique.

Early evidence suggests the bacteria has genes from two distinct groups of E. coli: enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).

The Health Protection Agency told the BBC that we were at the beginning of the learning curve in terms of understanding what this means.

BBC 2011

Germany Official Visit Arrival Ceremony

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