E.coli outbreak is new ‘super-toxic’ strain of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics

Source: Daily Mail

Scientists have identified ‘an entirely new super-toxic’ strain of E.coli which has infected more than 1,600 people worldwide, including seven in the UK.

Chinese and German researchers have been working round the clock to identify the strain, which has struck people in 10 countries and killed at least 16.

A statement from the Beijing Genomics Institute, which has been working on sequencing the strain, said it contained several genes that were resistant to antibiotics.

Analysis shows the bacterium is an enterohemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC) O104 strain, but is a ‘new serotype’ – not previously involved in any E.coli outbreaks.

More than 90 per cent of the bacterium is the same as a virulent strain that causes serious diarrhoea, but the new strain has ‘also acquired specific sequences’, the statement said.

These are similar to those involved in hemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) – a deadly complication of E.coli.

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