- The Loom
Why Tainted Spinach And Antibiotics Are a Bad Match
Over the weekend I wrote about the natural history of the Escherichia coli strain that has contaminated spinach. According to reports today, 109 people have been identified as sickened with Escherichia coli O157:H7, and one has died. In the comment thread of my post, the subject of antibiotics came up. It turns out that antibiotics are the last thing you want to take if you get sick with Escherichia coli O157:H7. It may turn a nasty–but temporary–case of bloody diarrhea into fatal organ failure.
More below the fold…
Like other microbes, Escherichia coli O157:H7 carries a number genes that were delivered to it by viruses. In some cases, the viral DNA has mutated to the point that it cannot produce