E coli in the news

thomas merchant tm37atacme.gatech.edu at dont.spam.me
Fri Aug 22 07:50:58 EST 1997

On Thu, 21 Aug 1997 22:43:44 -0400, Stephanie Corbitt
<scorbitt at ipass.net> wrote:

>Karen wrote:
>> Has anyone else noticed that when E. coli is mentioned in the news
>> they say
>> something like...
>> "and this illness is thought to be caused from the E. coli virus"
>> Does this annoy anyone else?
>   Yeah, come to think about it, it is pretty annoying!!!  It just shows
>what these newspeople know about science.

And, to be just a little bit picky, using _E. coli_ does not
distinguish between _Escherichia coli_, a bacterium, and _Entamoeba
coli_, a protozoan. Also, the strain responsible for illnesses, such
as O157:H7, is rarely stated, nor is there ever mention that other
strain(s) of Escherichia coli are common, normal residents of the
human intestinal tract.

But of course this falls in line with the widely held belief that
antibiotics are useful against viral infections, such as the flu. And
we wonder why so many bacteria are developing resistances to most

But I am probably being too picky here. After all, it is the doctors
who are prescribing these antibiotics for viral infections. If doctors
can't distinguish between bacteria and viruses, should we expect
journalists? :-)

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