Public event to examine Germany’s E.Coli outbreak


Scientists at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health will discuss Germany’s recent E. coli outbreak and issues of food safety at a public event this week.

A new strain of E. coli was identified in patients in Germany in May this year and has since infected 3,000 people, including some from the UK. The infection results in bloody diarrhoea and attacks the kidneys and nervous system, which to date has resulted in more than 30 deaths in Germany. Experts at the University will present a series of short talks on the new strain and how to safeguard against other foodborne diseases.

Scientists will also discuss the recent E. coli outbreak in France and how to prevent disease epidemics.  The event will be followed by a question and answer session.

Professor Tom Solomon, Head of the Institute of Infection and Global Health, said: “Food safety is an increasingly important area of research and when cases, such as the recent E. coli outbreak, make global headlines, it is our responsibility to keep members of the public informed of how to protect themselves and their families.

“The Institute of Infection and Global Health brings together more than 100 leading infection and global health researchers from medicine, veterinary science, and biology. This range of expertise allows us to investigate pathogens, such as E. coli, that can jump from animals to humans in a more targeted way.

“Liverpool is also home to the National Centre for Zoonosis Research where scientists are looking at diseases that can transfer to humans through the food chain. We investigate how bacterial infections evolve and how they react to different environmental conditions. Our Veterinary School has two farms, where researchers are looking at animal health and welfare, as well as working with major food retailers to enhance the quality and safety of farm produce.”

At the event, leading international researchers will present information on what E. coli is, why this particular strain is so dangerous, and where the bacteria came from originally. E. coli is typicall spread to humans through animal meat, but unusually the strain in Germany was passed through the food chain in bean sprouts, which originated from a farm in the north of the country.

‘The German E. coli outbreak – is my food safe?’ event will take place on Friday, 1 July, 12.30 to 1.30pm at the Foresight Centre, Brownlow Street.

Entry to the event is free. Booking is not essential, but places should be reserved by contacting Sophia Latham or by telephoning: 0151 794 6195.

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