Case Study: Microbiology

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E Coli Case Study

The increase of cases reported of E. coli, that was seen during the month of June 1997, may be attributed to several different factors. It is first important to remember that this is an increase in reported cases and not actual or documented cases. This preliminary understanding is important due to the threat of an epidemic. It is both wise and prudent to determine what some of the main culprits could be.

One cause may be a stem of human errors that were proceeded by another cause. Lab methods and procedures should definitely be investigated as a possible source in this large increase in reported cases. Any one shipment of contained meat may have been the source of this outbreak and a subsequent investigation of these cases could determine that as well. These two general approaches are fine launching points in finding the source of the increase.

Question 1B

A systemic investigation into the documented lab work done on these cases will most likely provide the information necessary to determine a source of these increases. It is important to vet the laboratory's procedures to help identify if or where an epidemic threat may arise.

Question 2

In this banding picture, the following fingerprints are similar enough to warrant further investigation: Bands: 9.7, 2, 3.

Question 3

The defining parameters of this case are well designed and hold a significant amount of value. The date range is wide enough but not too wide. The symptoms contained are possibly a little too general and may require more refinement. Loose stool and abdominal cramps are common symptoms of many things besides E. coli. If possible, the case would be better defined if some more specific geographical limitations could be identified.

Question 4

Michigan Outbreak

Age Group

Male

Female

TOTAL

0-9

17%

8%

11%

10-19

17%

12%

13%

20-39

25%

35%

32%

40-59

17%

31%

26%

60+

25%

15%

18%

US FoodNet Outbreak

Age Group

Male

Female

TOTAL

0-1

3%

3%

3%

1-9

48%

43%

45%

10-19

22%

10%

16%

20-29

6%

11%

9%

30-39

4%

7%

5%

40-49

4%

3%

4%

50-59

4%

10%

7%

60+

9%

13%

11%

One of the main differences in these two charts is the age group breakdown. The U.S. FoodNet site determined that nearly 45% of total cases were to children between the ages of 1 and 9, where only 11% of the Michigan outbreak was from that same age group.

Question 5

What have you eaten in the last month?

How much beef?

Where did you eat… [END OF PREVIEW]

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