a large arsenal of germ-resistant goods have occupied store shelves in Japan to tackle an imminent outbreak of the Escherichia coli ( E coli ) bacteria this summer. More than 9,000 people fell ill and around 11 died during last summer's E coli 0157 food poisoning epidemic. So far, only sporadic outbreaks have occurred, but a full-blown epidemic is expected soon, when the heat peaks. Business instincts have sharpened with growing fears about the bacterial menace and aggressive advertising has played up public anxiety. Katsunori Tanaka, spokes-person for the Daiei departmental store chain says that awareness of 0157 has spawned diversification in germ-fighting goods. And Nissan Motor Company's Masata Saito said that germ-resistant interior features are now on the agenda of any automaker's marketing strategy.Such hectic buying and selling of germ-resistant goods is partly attributable to a growing interest in cleanliness too. According to automaker manufacturers, when certain chemical substances and copper and silver ions are added to coatings or mixed with materials, they inhibit the growth of these microbes.
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