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Medical News and Perspectives
July 6, 2011

Rare E coli Strain Races Through Europe; High Rate of Kidney Failure Reported

JAMA. 2011;306(1):29. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.889

An outbreak of a rare strain of Escherichia coli that began in May in Germany marshaled the efforts of scientists, epidemiologists, and medical experts throughout Europe and in the United States. As they raced to find its source—which German authorities said on June 10 appeared to be bean and seed sprouts—alarming characteristics of the outbreak became apparent. The bacterium spread rapidly, caused high rates of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and disproportionately affected individuals who are generally not considered at high risk during outbreaks of enterohemorrhagic E coli.

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