E. coli epidemic baffles doctors

A highly virulent strain of E. coli that has already killed two people and infected around 800 (most of whom live or had visited northern Germany) has proved an enigma for epidemiologists. 

Cristina Luiggi
Jun 3, 2011

MAXEXPHOTO / DREAMSTIME.COM

A highly virulent strain of E. coli that has already killed two people and infected around 800 (most of whom live or had visited northern Germany) has proved an enigma for epidemiologists. In particular, they are at a loss to explain the unusually high number of cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a severe kidney illness, that the bacteria has caused. The epidemic has been linked to the consumption of raw cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce and has affected mostly women, ScienceInsider reports. According to Nature, a clinical trial for an experimental antibody called eculizumab (brand names Soliris or Alexion) is currently underway as a treatment for the infection.