WHO: E. coli outbreak caused by new strain

Maria Cheng and Nataliya Vasilyeva   
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The E. coli bacteria responsible for a deadly outbreak that has left 18 dead and sickened hundreds in Europe is a new strain that has never been seen before, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Preliminary genetic sequencing suggests the strain is a mutant form of two different E. coli bacteria, with aggressive genes that could explain why the Europe-wide outbreak appears to be so massive and dangerous, the agency said.
Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the WHO, told The Associated Press that “this is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before.”
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