New E. Coli Strain to Kill Us All?

Europe is currently facing the most fatal outbreak of E. Coli on record, which has so far killed seventeen people. Just how screwed are we? Pretty screwed. Here’s why:

  • It’s a strain that nobody was expecting to turn into a killer. Epidemiologists weren’t even thinking about it.
  • It’s picked up genes that increase its resistance to antibiotics.
  • Oh, it’s also found genes that allow it to cause hemorrhaging, because that wasn’t nasty enough.
  • If that weren’t bad enough, it also apparently secretes a type of super glue that lets it stick to your colon and start killing you with toxins.
  • It’s also causing hemolytic-uremic syndrome, which basically means that in addition to making you bleed in the colon, it’s going to shut down your kidneys by killing your red blood cells.

So, yeah, we’re all screwed.

[ via the bearers of bad news at Ars Technica ]