Reaction from a reader about our story on Stephanie Smith and her struggle to recover good health after E. coli infection, on page A1 Saturday:
I have to note the inaccuracy and shortcomings of the story on the front page of this weekend's paper describing the experience of Stephanie Smith, a woman who ate under-cooked, bad ground beef-
From Wikipedia: Escherichia coli (commonly E. coli; pronounced /ˌɛʃɪˈrɪkiə ˈkoʊlaɪ/, /iː ~/), is a gram negative bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some, such as serotype O157:H7, can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for costly product recalls. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, or by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.[5
E. coli is quite ubiquitous, and as warm-blooded humans we have millions of these bacteria living harmlessly in our poop chutes. The article gives the impression that all E. Coli are bad when, in fact, most of us will never come across a harmful strain of E. coli, especially if we properly prepare food like hamburgers. Both articles about Stephanie Smith missed a chance to educate people about the difference between most E. coli strains and the pathogenic E. coli O157. More unfortunately, the articles made absolutely no mention of how hamburgers and other foods should be prepared to prevent being infected with E. coli O157. What a missed opportunity that was to help others avoid what Stephanie Smith is going through.
Nathan's right, we missed an opportunity to inform readers on how to handle and cook food in a way that kills off the bacteria, etc...goes without saying that any story of this kind should provide that type of information.
Not so sure we needed to get into the pros and cons of E. coli, however.