A multi-state outbreak of urinary tract infections caused by drug-resistant Escherichia coli was probably due to consumption of a contaminated food product of animal origin, such as meat or milk, according to an article in the Jan. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are one of the most common infections in women. Although they are not typically considered "outbreak" diseases, it is likely that a cluster of UTIs resulting from the same drug-resistant strain of the bacterium E. coli came from a single source, such as a food animal.
Between October 1999 and January 2000, a single strain of E. coli was discovered to be responsible for drug-resistant UTIs in university communities in California, Minnesota, and Michigan. Researchers studied nearly 500 specimens of E. coli obtained from non-human sources such as cows, turkeys, dogs, sheep, and water. They found that one-quarter of the specimens were microbiologically indistinguishable from comparable human strains of E. coli. A more refined test showed that, of the drug-resistant specimens, one from a cow had a 94 percent similarity to a UTI-causing human strain of E. coli. The researchers concluded that the cause of the outbreak was probably foodborne.
Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
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