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Canadian discoveries pivotal to the science of toxins and illness associated with E. coli
Date:10/29/2013

Many Canadian scientists and clinicians were unsung heroes during the early years (19771983) of research unfolding around verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC). In an article published today in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology, Dr. Cimolai, a clinician and medical microbiologist, documents the history of this area of study, focusing on the key discoveries and major contributions made by Canadians to the science of what many people refer to as hamburger disease. This disease poses an ongoing and significant threat to the general population; examples of its impact are the Walkerton outbreak and recent meat tainting episodes affecting the beef production industry in Alberta, as well as food contamination in Europe.

Dr. Cimola writes As stories of microbiological and infectious disease discoveries are told, one of the most charming of these in Canadian history is the recognition of VTEC and associated disease. The considerable burden and impact of E. coli-associated infections is experienced worldwide. The contributions of our national scientists in this field must be seen as a vital part of medical and microbiological Canadiana.

Cimolai reports on key contributors, including Jack Konowalchuk, Joan Speirs and their collaborators in Ottawa, who defined the E. coli verotoxin; Mohamed Karmali, Martin Petric and colleagues at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who established the association of VTEC and hemolytic-uremic syndrome; Carlton Gyles, University of Guelph Veterinary School, and Peter Fleming, Hermy Lior and their scientific and medical peers. Many Canadian investigators, but especially those in the veterinary school at the University of Guelph, also contributed to the science of VTEC among animals. The interactions between clinical and veterinary researchers led to a then unprecedented exponential growth in the knowledge base of VTEC. The Toronto group led by Karmali stood front and centre during the most criti
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Contact: Jenny Ryan
jenny.ryan@nrcresearchpress.com
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)
Source:Eurekalert

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