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E. coli - Not a Disease of the Big City.

Infection from E. coli 0157:H7 (E. coli) appears to be associated with small towns and rural areas. It is not a disease of the big cities. Researchers from the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre in England have demonstrated the patchiness of E. coli distribution in the United Kingdom. Even in Scotland, where the prevalence is highest and has yet to be explained, incidence centers in rural regions like Grampian. In London, the incidence is almost zero.

People who contract an E. coli infection are six times more likely to end up in a hospital than those who contract salmonella, and death is 10 times more likely. A massive outbreak in Lanarkshire had a tragic death toll, although 90 percent of cases are apparently sporadic.

Investigations indicate that cold cooked meats are the big problem, and that these outbreaks often occur at functions where the meat is eaten, such as wedding receptions. Cross-contamination is part of the problem - people handle these foods.

(Adapted with permission from EHN, 17 October, 1997)
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Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Date:Apr 1, 1998
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