Most types of Escherichia coli (E. coli) , a common bacterium, are not dangerous. In fact, billions of harmless and even helpful E. coli live in your digestive tract right now. But the type isolated from food poisoning victims are often a strain called O157:H7. E. coli O157:H7 attaches to cells lining the large intestine and releases toxins, causing severe cramping and diarrhea. This dangerous type of E. coli first burst onto the scene in a food-poisoning outbreak in Oregon in 1982 and then resurfaced again and again, peaking in 1993, when 732 people across Washington state became sick and 4 died from O157:H7 contaminated burgers. In 2006, it appeared to have reared its ugly head once again. American panicked. In late August, 2006, baby spinach across the country caused at least 5 deaths and more than 205 people across 26 states had become very sick, with 15 percent of them suffering kidney failure. How can bacteria from the digestive system have gotten onto baby spinach to contaminate it? What are the implications of the safety of our food system? Do some research to determine the source of this outbreak and hypothesize why this O157:H7 was more harmful and infectious than prior outbreaks.
Prepare a one-page, 250 word paper, analyzing the issue above. Make sure you cite a reliable scientific website to back up your work (think National Geographic, PBS, Discovery, Smithsonian, New Scientist, Nature, Scientific American, Science Daily, New Science, The Guardian, Science News, Biology News, Popular Science, The New York Times Science Section, The Scientist). Do not quote from a website/source or you will lose points. You need to synthesize what you are reading and then answer the question in your own words.
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