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SKEPTOID BLOG:

E. coli Revisited: When good Science goes Bad

by Guy McCardle

June 7, 2011

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Donate Thanks to our avid Skeptoid readers for pointing out that someone has already written about supposed conspiracy theories regarding the recent outbreak of deadly E. coli in Germany. Those interested in such things should check it out here. As a matter of fact, everyone should check out what this gentleman has to say because it is an excellent example of what can happen when you don't understand how science works and instead cling to paranoid theories that big brother is out to get you.

Big brother in this case turns out to be big pharma. What does that mean? Let me explain. Mr. Adams, author of the above referenced article, makes the case that since the strain of E. coli causing the outbreak in Germany was found to be resistant to eight classes of antibiotics it must be bio-engineered. What was his rationale? He states it is "virtually impossible" to imagine how such a deadly mutation could occur all by itself in the natural world and he raises the question, "if this bacteria originated in the food (as we've been told), then where did it acquire all this antibiotic resistance given the fact that antibiotics are not used in vegetables?"

No, no, no, no, no.....that's not how it works. First off, the statement that "antibiotics are not used in vegetables" is indeed correct. But it has very little to do with the outbreak. The vegetables, or however this bacteria was spread, were merely a vector for the disease causing organism. Think of a vector in this case as a tiny taxi cab taking a terrorist bacteria out to blow something up. The terrorist is the thing doing all the harm and destruction, the taxi is just a way for it to get there. The true source of the E. coli is the gut of humans or animals. Humans and animals take antibiotics and this is where antibiotic resistance is bred. I suppose he misunderstood when he thought officials were trying to say the bacteria originated on food when it truly has been spread by contaminated food.

American public health officials are somewhat upset that the Germans have not yet found the source of the outbreak. Poor scientific investigation such as this leaves the door open for a myriad of alternative theories of the source of infection. The reason we need to know is, of course, to prevent such an event from happening again in the future. Thus far the death toll is up to 23. My understanding is that German health officials did not conduct the necessary food surveys of patients to determine what they had consumed several hours before the onset of their sickness. It may be too late to go back and do this retroactively.

How would big pharma supposedly benefit from introducing a bio-engineered multi- drug resistant killer bacteria into a population? Two ways: First off, sick people would only respond to treatment from very powerful and expensive drugs sold by you know who. Secondly, people would be scared of fresh vegetables, eat a less healthy diet (is that's possible in most of the U.S.) and get sick resulting in the need to be treated by medicines made by you know who. Where does colloidal silver come into play in all of this mess? Mr. Adams asserts that all superbug strains can, "of course", be readily killed with colloidal silver. He goes on to say that that is "exactly why the FDA and world health regulators have viciously attacked colloidal silver companies all these years: They can't have the public getting its hands on natural antibiotics that really work, you see. That would defeat the whole purpose of making everybody sick in the first place." The FDA takes that position that colloidal silver has no substantiated medical benefits and may lead to argyria, a condition where your skin turns a silvery blue-gray color making you look like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz.

Be skeptical when you hear stories that big pharma is trying to kill us by poisoning the food supply. The real culprit in the emergence of multi drug resistant bacteria, like the recent E. coli outbreak in Germany, is the over prescription of antibiotics. Don't go to the doctor demanding antibiotics, they are often not necessary. Wash your hands before eating and cook your food appropriately to help to avoid food poisoning. Be careful, be smart and stay safe.

by Guy McCardle

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