E. coli is a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium that is found in the lower intestine of humans and warm-blooded organisms such as birds and other mammals. For the most part, many strains of E. coli have a symbiotic relationship with their hosts, including humans. However, when exposed to fecal bacteria, potentially harmful strains like E. coli 0157:H7 are created. E. coli poisoning can cause several life-threatening conditions including haemolytic-uraemic syndrome, septicaemia, peritonitis, mastitis as well as gastrointestinal infection, urinary tract infection and neonatal meningitis.
Recently forced into prominence by nationwide food recalls, concern and awareness for E. coli contamination in food and water continues to mount. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 70,000 infections of E. coli 0157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Of the E. coli outbreaks investigated by the CDC between 2006-2010, the most prevalent sources were from food contamination in cheeses, shredded romaine lettuce, beef, prepackaged cookie dough and spinach.
The testing and early rapid detection of E. coli is critical to the identification and containment of potential threats to public health and food safety. However, conventional methods for testing live-cell E. coli remain lengthy at 18 to 24 hours. Other methods such as PCR may produce faster results, but they require expensive testing equipment and leave out out crucial information about whether or not a cell is alive and therefore poses a threat to patient and/or public safety.
NanoLogix E. coli 0157:H7 Quick Test is live-cell microorganism detection and identification technology that yields results in approximately 4 hours, without the cost of expensive lab equipment or extensive training. In addition, the E. coli 0157:H7 Quick Test is so simple to use, it is ideal for field tests and health clinics on the peripheries of health systems.
Faster test results give public agencies and the food processing and grocery industries increased response times to avoid health threats to large populations. Faster live-cell results mean swifter product recalls, greater protection from water and environmental contamination, as well as more targeted treatment of antibiotics to infected patients. In medical settings, the ability to target E. coli with specific antibiotics within a few hours will help reduce E. coli strains, such as 0157:H7 from developing further antibiotic resistance.