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Tennessee Tracking Three Strains of E. coli

Food Safety News

by Dan Flynn | Jun 14, 2011

Clusters of E. coli infection reported in Eastern Tennessee could be the "new normal" as non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) take their place beside O157, making outbreaks all that more difficult to sort out.

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"It is very confusing," said Tennessee's State Epidemiologist, Dr. Tim F. Jones on Monday, as he explained that in addition to three O157:H7 cases, two cases of E. coli O103 and one of O169 have been confirmed in the eastern end of the state.

Tennessee is being assisted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in investigating a total of 11 cases of E. coli infection.

Dr. Jones said further complicating the investigation is the fact that in the DNA "fingerprinting" by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, no two of the PFGE patterns are the same for any of the E. coli strains. PFGE patterns of bacteria isolated from the people who are ill are often used to link cases to a common source.

Continue reading, "Tennessee Tracking Three Strains of E. coli" at Food Safety News.

More on this outbreak: Tennessee and Virginia E. coli Cases of Unknown Origin in 2011

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