E.coli Vaccine…For Cows!

Articles
July 13, 2009

E.coli Vaccine…For Cows!

A Minnesota based veterinary pharmaceutical company has developed a vaccine to combat the evil E.coli bacteria that has been plaguing our food system and the health of our country. Epitopix LLC’s vaccine has proven to reduce the prevalence of cattle shedding E.coli 0157:H7 by as much as 85 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 0157 strain sickens approximately 70,000 people in the U.S. every year. This groundbreaking vaccine specifically targets the 0157 food safety demon that has, in the past decade, appeared in tomatoes, spinach, peanuts, cookie dough, and beef, to name a few. The vaccine is under conditional approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; allowing Epitopix LLC to release the vaccine under the condition that potency and efficacy trials continue to meet USDA’s standards. Upon meeting these standards, the vaccine will be granted full licensure. In the interim, the company is working on costs and plans to begin inoculating beef cattle in the fall. Michelle Rossman, director of beef safety research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), was one of the driving forces in obtaining the USDA’s approval. NCBA helped to fund research conducted at West Texas A&M, one of the country’s leading Universities studying beef cattle feedlots Daniel Thompson a professor of beef production medicine and epidemiology at Kansas State University, another leading institution researching feedlot safety, has been studying the vaccine for 3 ½ years and feels that it could have a significant positive impact on our food safety system. Not only does the vaccine reduce the prevalence of 0157 in cattle feces by 85 percent, but among the cattle that tested positive after being inoculated there were 98 percent fewer bacterial cells in their feces than unvaccinated cattle. Thus, through logical conjecture, the vaccine significantly decreases the overall risk of E.coli 0157 contamination.

A Minnesota based veterinary pharmaceutical company has developed a vaccine to combat the evil E.coli bacteria that has been plaguing our food system and the health of our country. Epitopix LLC’s vaccine has proven to reduce the prevalence of cattle shedding E.coli 0157:H7 by as much as 85 percent.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 0157 strain sickens approximately 70,000 people in the U.S. every year. This groundbreaking vaccine specifically targets the 0157 food safety demon that has, in the past decade, appeared in tomatoes, spinach, peanuts, cookie dough, and beef, to name a few.

The vaccine is under conditional approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; allowing Epitopix LLC to release the vaccine under the condition that potency and efficacy trials continue to meet USDA’s standards. Upon meeting these standards, the vaccine will be granted full licensure. In the interim, the company is working on costs and plans to begin inoculating beef cattle in the fall. Michelle Rossman, director of beef safety research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), was one of the driving forces in obtaining the USDA’s approval. NCBA helped to fund research conducted at West Texas A&M, one of the country’s leading Universities studying beef cattle feedlots

Daniel Thompson a professor of beef production medicine and epidemiology at Kansas State University, another leading institution researching feedlot safety, has been studying the vaccine for 3 ½ years and feels that it could have a significant positive impact on our food safety system. Not only does the vaccine reduce the prevalence of 0157 in cattle feces by 85 percent, but among the cattle that tested positive after being inoculated there were 98 percent fewer bacterial cells in their feces than unvaccinated cattle. Thus, through logical conjecture, the vaccine significantly decreases the overall risk of E.coli 0157 contamination.

How does it work? The vaccine acts to inhibit the E.coli bacteria in a cow’s gut from getting iron. And as Professor Thompson explains, “Iron is to E.coli as Oxygen is to us.” Therefore with out iron the bacteria cannot survive.

E.coli 0157 is a potentially deadly bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, high fever, vomiting/nausea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. Keep in mind that until this vaccine becomes pervasive we will still be on the alert. Here are some reminders and tips:

E.coli Infection

 

  •  Symptoms start off mild and worsen after several days but usually clear up within 5–7 days.
  •  The “incubation period,” or the time it takes after consuming the bacteria and feeling sick is usually 3-4 days but can range from 1 to 10 days.
  •   If you suspect E.coli, continue to drink fluids as to prevent dehydration. Do not take antidiarrheal medicines or antibiotics as both can worsen the condition.
  •   In order to track and help improve our food safety and public health system, it is important, if you suspect an E.coli infection, that you see a health care professional and are properly tested (stool sample) and diagnosed.

Food Safety & Raw Meat
 

  •  Always cook meats thoroughly. Make sure to follow advised cooking instructions on food packages and labels. CDC recommends cooking ground meat to at least 160ºF.
  •  Use separate cutting boards, knives and utensils for raw or uncooked foods. Make sure to wash countertops and hands with hot soapy water after handling raw meats.
  •  Chill perishable foods promptly. Be sure your refrigerator is set at 40ºF or below and your freezer at 0ºF.
  •  Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.