Less Than 10% of Bovine i E. coli /i Strains Affect Human Health


Using software to compare genetic information in bacterial isolates from animals and people, researchers have predicted that less than 10% of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 strains are likely to have the potential to cause human disease. According to Nadejda Lupolova, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and colleagues, "machine-learning approaches have tremendous potential to interrogate complex genome information for which specific attributes of the organism, such as disease or isolation host, are known." The researchers published the results of their study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Although most E. coli strains live in the gastrointestinal tracts of people and animals without causing disease, infection with E. coli 0157 is associated with serious illness in people. E. coli 0157 was first identified as a cause of disease in the United States in 1982, during an investigation into an outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis.