E. coli InfosheetThis week’s Food Safety Infosheet from the International Food Safety Network (iFSN) out of Kansas State University and the University of Guelph addresses concerns about E. coli O157:H7 – a potentially deadly foodborne pathogen.  From the infosheet:

E. coli O157:H7 can cause vomiting, diarrhea and can lead to kidney damage and is most dangerous for children and the elderly.

Foods that have been associated with E. coli O157:H7 include ground beef, fruits and vegetables, sprouts and unpasteurized juices.

When meat is ground, E. coli O157:H7 can be mixed from the surface into the middle of a patty or meatball. The only way to ensure that the dangerous
bacterium is killed is to use a digital tip-sensitive thermometer.

All three E. coli victims in the infosheet were hospitalized with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a severe, life-threatening complication of an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Although most people recover from the symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection, about 5-10% of infected individuals develop (HUS).  The essence of the syndrome is described by its three central features: destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), destruction of platelets (those blood cells responsible for clotting, resulting in low platelet counts, or thrombocytopenia), and acute renal failure.