can we predict the source of the E. Coli contamination in Germany?

Joined Jun 6, 2007
Ever since I started graduate studies, I have been amazed by what a bunch of intelligent people can come up by collaborating.

I wonder if by collaborating we can predict the source on the E. Coli contamination:

Let me start some ideas:

Escherichia coli is a fecal bacterium.  (fecal coliform)

can live with or without oxygen (anaerobic facultative)

Lives in warm blooded animals. Mostly mammalian animals but also birds.

Does not live long outside the host

O104:H4 is a new strain not seem before

It is highly resistant to antibiotics.

Possible source:

fresh manure on plant material, human fecal matter due to uncleanliness, contaminated and undercooked meat, raw/cook meat cross contamination.


epicenter in Northern Germany

Possible site: Hamburg harbor festival in May.

Other tidbits:

2/3 infected are women:  does this mean women are more vulnerable to this strain or was the food consumed more by women (like salads... sorry for the stereotype)?

let me make some predictions:

1- Undercooked hamburgers during the Hamburg festival

2- some sort of salad green contaminated with manure.

3 -mayonnaise (the number one condiment for french fries in Europe) made from contaminated eggs during the Hamburg festival.

Any other ideas? care to speculate?

Luc H.

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