The killer tracked

Published: Wednesday 28 February 2001

It's a medical equivalent of tracking a pathological killer and his method. US-based researchers have sequenced the genome of a potentially deadly strain of Escherichia coli 0157 , a bacterium that causes a variety of ailments, like urinary tract infections , diarrhoea and neonatal meningitis. It is mainly transmitted through infected meat. In the US it causes an estimated 75,000 infections every year. The research has revealed how the bacteria kills and may lead to more effective tests and treatments. The team found that the deadly bacterium is armed with an extraordinarily wide range of genes that help it to trigger diseases and resist destruction by the body ( Nature, Vol 409, No 6819).

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