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E. Coli Research Review

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

(Image credit: NIAID)

Featured findings about a popular microbe
compiled by Honoré Schoolcraft, Improbable Research staff

Coli and Mexican Fast Food
“Enteric Pathogens in Mexican Sauces of Popular Restaurants in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Houston, Texas,” Javier A. Adachi, John J. Mathewson, Zhi-Dong Jiang, Charles D. Ericsson and Herbert L. DuPont, Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 136, no. 12, June 18, 2002, pp. 884–7. (Thanks to Peter Melvoin for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at University of Texas, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, conclude that:

Contamination with E. coli was common in samples of Mexican tabletop sauces from Guadalajara restaurants. These sauces commonly contained enteric pathogens.

Holy Hazard
“Holy Water—A Risk Factor for Hospital-Acquired Infection,” J.C. Rees and K.D. Allen, Journal of Hospital Infection, vol. 32, no. 1, January 1996, pp. 51–5. (Thanks to Danielle Chung for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside, UK, explain:

A case of hospital-acquired infection due to Acinetobacter baumanii in a burns patient after exposure to holy water is described. In order to assess the infection risk, 13 samples of holy water were cultured for bacteria, (including legionellae) and yeasts. Viable bacterial counts ranged from 1.3 x 103—3.8 x 108 cfu/L (mean 3.1 x 107 cfu/L). A wide range of bacterial species was isolated including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter spp. Escherichia coli and Aeromonas hydrophila. Candida spp. were isolated from two samples, but legionellae from none. Holy water would, therefore, seem to be a potential risk factor for hospital-acquired infection.

(Image credit: Brian Baer and Neerja Hajela)

Coli on Coli
“Evolution of CTX-M-Type Beta-Lactamases in Isolates of Escherichia coli Infecting Hospital and Community Patients,” G. Brigante, F. Luzzaro, M. Perilli, G. Lombardi, A. Coli et al., International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, vol. 25, no. 2, February 2005, pp. 157–62.

Coli and Binge Eating
“Binge Eating Disorder: Prevalence and Psychopathological Features in a Clinical Sample of Obese People in Italy,” Carla E. Ramacciotti, Elisabetta Coli et al., Psychiatry Research, vol. 94, no. 2, May 15, 2000, pp. 131–8.

(Image credit: Kelseymflanagan)

Coli and Associated Psychoneurotic Disturbances
“Le Colibacillose et Ses Troubles Psycho-Nevrosiques” [Bacillus coli and Associated Psychoneurotic Disturbances],” R. De. Saussure, Évolution Psychiatrique, no. 1, 1934, pp. 85–95. The author reports:

A description of the psychological manifestations which are encountered in [certain] patients. The most striking symptoms are asthenia and distaste for life, anxiety, capricious irritation, and sometimes obsessions and hypochondriac delusions. There are no specific psychological disturbances in these cases.


The article above is from the January-February 2007 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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