Arizona E. coli Death Linked to European Outbreak

Federal health officials have just confirmed one death in the United States has been linked to the deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany. Six deaths have been connected to the same E. coli strain, but one involving an Arizona man appears to be a direct link to the same deadly <"">E. coli strain that recently attacked Europe, said MSNBC.

The Arizona death, involving a man who just visited Germany, is the first known fatality linked to the outbreak that has, to date, killed at least 50 people in Europe, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The unnamed man was over 65 years of age and resided in Northern Arizona, said MSNBC.

Overall, six cases of confirmed infection with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 0104:H4 have been confirmed, the CDC said. They include five people who recently traveled to Germany. Another victim likely became ill from close contact with a traveler.

As of June, the historic German E. coli outbreak sickened 2,400; 700 were significantly ill with serious kidney problems and another 23 died. The outbreak impacted about 12 countries and was sickening more and more in the United States. As we’ve explained, the strain was identified as new, mutant, and potentially deadly, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO explained that initial genetic sequencing points to this new strain being a altered collaboration of two separate E. coli bacterium with deadly genes.

The strain is resulting in two E. coli-related diseases: Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), wrote MSNBC earlier.

The outbreak appears to have started the second week in May, said federal health officials, and the rare strain of E. coli is a Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, or STEC and is multi-antibiotic resistance. Because of the outcomes for HUS—kidney failure and acute anemia—those sickened are treated with dialysis and other crisis treatments, not antibiotics.

Although declines have been seen in E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks, other strains of that dangerous foodborne pathogen have risen, said Chris Braden, director of CDC’s division of food-borne, water-borne and environmental diseases previously.

CDC data is derived nationally and is based on foodborne illnesses in 10 states, as we’ve mentioned. The Times explained that the area of reporting represents 15 percent of the nation’s population and is meant to provide a representative sampling of what is occurring throughout the U.S.

Last year, the FoodNet system, revealed 442 people in the CDC sample area were sickened by E. coli O157:H7; 184 required hospitalization and two died, said The Times. Meanwhile, added The Times, 451 were sickened with nonO157 E. coli, which led to 69 hospitalizations and one fatality. The prior year, FoodNet detected 264 cases of the nonO157 E. coli, which points to a rise in those cases and which might be due to increased testing, said The Times.

According to the government, one in six Americans are sickened with food poisoning annually; of these, 3,000 people will die.

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