• Question: You say that you work with micro-organisms such as E.coli, are you currently doing anything thing related to the E.coli outbreak?

    Asked by danrumford to Johnson, Daz, Cat, Holly, Pamela on 13 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by matthewbakerwtflolz, charlottedavies.
    • Photo: Johnson Soronnadi

      Johnson Soronnadi answered on 10 Jun 2011:

      At the moment no case of the current E.coli outbreak has been reported in my area, though we are on alert especilally samples from patients who recently visited Germany. The difficulty with the current E.coli is that is previously unknown strain(type) of bacterium which attack the kidney and nervous system . Nevertheless, I still work with E.coli 0157 and look out for E.coli 0157 in stool samples coming to the laboratory from patients suspected of having enteric infection, like diarrhoea.

    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 13 Jun 2011:

      Hi Dan, Matthewbakerwtflolz and Charlottedavies,

      This E. coli outbreak is really fascinating right? I’m not working on it but one of the guys in my work is part of a group who are in charge of making up a plan to handle such an outbreak if it occurs in Scotland! A lot of the work being done to find the source of the outbreak would have been done by people like me, epidemiologists and statisticians, by using data collected from interviewing people who got sick and also people who didn’t get sick. By looking at this data, they found that more people got sick after eating bean sprouts! It’s a little complicated how they do all that statistics to figure this out and they can often get it wrong if not enough data is collected (like they did with the cucumbers!) I’ve been trying to find out as much information about this outbreak as I can because I love thinking about mysteries like this! And that’s what science is really, trying to figure out mysteries!


    • Photo: Darren Braddick

      Darren Braddick answered on 13 Jun 2011:

      Hi Dan, Matthew, & Charlotte,

      I personally do not work with anything from this outbreak, as it is too new. I do know, however, that E. coli can be very nasty and hard to treat. The bacteria I study are very very dangerous, but when they are not resistant to antibiotics, are easy to kill. E. coli is harder to kill, because of its cellular structure.

      This new E. coli is really nasty. Maybe the most frustrating thing for us in the UK is the amount of time it is taking for them to find out what happened and where its coming from.

      I do microbiology with E. coli though, generally, but not this bad one 🙂

      Hope that helps,