E. coli - Death - Disease - Chronic Illness:
the results of:
Politics - Religion and Magic
While this article focuses on E. Coli 0157:H7, there are over 1,400 pathogenic disease organisms that can be very
deadly to humans. That means that they are going to be in treated sewage water effluent and and the best treated
sludge, including biosolids compost. However, there is very little information readily available concerning individual
disease organisms and the damage they can do to the human body.. E. coli 0157:H7 appears to be one of the most
misunderstood disease organism with current national exposure.
Escherichia Coli (E. coli 0157:H7) contaminated produce have killed a large number of people across the country in
the last few months. Due to the unique nature of the toxin producing gene in the bacteria, there is no treatment for the
original infection. For those who didn't die, the resulting disease associated with the E. coli organism in food has left
about 10 percent of the people hospitalized, some with life threatening organ failure.
For most of us (who have suffered through a bout of food poisoning), while we can emphasize with the innocent
victims, we are thankful it wasn’t us or our loved ones. Most of us fail to realize that those victims who suffered kidney
and/or other organ failure will also suffer long term chronic illness. What the generally public does not understand is
that many people who were infected and appeared to fully recover, may also develop other chronic illnesses.
Strangely enough, this appears to be a result of a combination of politics, religion and magic in the waste control and
disposal sectors of government. Politics has given us laws that were designed to protect us from exposure to E. coli
and other disease organisms in our food, water and air. As a religious nation “under god” we believe and support the
Christian politicians who swear on the Bible (we have to add a Muslim who swears on the Koran this year) they only
have our best interest at heart and the laws will protect us -- mostly from ourselves.
For politics and religion in government, magic has replaced law and science. Under the current law and science of
magic national policy, adopted into law by most states, the closer E. coli and other disease organisms can be disposed
of near you, the safer you will be, and there is no reason for state officials to investigate your imagined health
complaints. The courts and state environmental departments are there to make sure you don’t try to protect yourself
from those corporations who are authorized by the state to use their magic to protect your health.
While the government PR machine has focused the media’s attention on the deadly E. coli 0157:H7, which has now
contaminated wild animals, cattle and found in manure, it is only one part of the E. coli family that started out as a
friendly gut bacteria released in human manure to sewage treatment plants. Outside the gut E. coli was never very
friendly to the body. Now this family of Escherichia has mutated, or been genetically engineered (yep, there is a
engineering patent) into disease causing organisms that cause water and foodborne illnesses, death, disease, and
chronic long term suffering.
The primary introduction to E. coli for most of us is Gastroenteritis: a watery diarrhea which has been playfully called
Montezuma’s revenge. This is caused by E coli enterotoxin acting on the bowels. Generally it is not too serious, even
though you might wish you were dead before its over, just to stop the suffering. With E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria, it is still
Gastroenteritis, but the toxin breaks down the walls of the bowels and you have a bloody diarrhea. If the bacteria is
killed, it releases even more deadly toxins which causes even more damage to the body.
If E. coli 0157:H7 get in an open wound (i.e., scrape or cut) from the environment, it may enter the blood stream. A
blood infection may lead to toxic shock and death, or it may lead to chronic inflammation of the gall bladder and urinary
bladder , infection of the bile ducts and abscesses in the liver, meningitis, scarring of the kidney or complete kidney
failure, irreversible brain damage, arthritis, infections inside the eye, infected thyroid gland, infected sinusitis, infection
of bone and bone marrow, inflammation of heart lining or heart valves, infection of soft tissue (Necrotising fasciitis -
flesh eating - which requires immediate surgery), infection and abscesses of the prostate gland. E. coli may release
endotoxins which cause small blood clots throughout the body which prevent blood clots from forming at the site of
injury. E. coli may also cause pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
According to EPA, with E. coli 0157:H7, "33% of persons with hemolytic uremic syndrome have abnormal kidney
function many years later, and a few require long-term dialysis, a smaller percentage of persons with hemolytic uremic
syndrome develop high blood pressure, seizures, blindness, paralysis, and the effects of having part o f their bowel
For a good description of the suffering during an eleven year fight to rid the body of hospital acquired E. coli bone and
tissue infection 40 years ago, pick up a copy of Terry McBride’s 2003 book, The Hell I Can’t. It will give you a new
perspective on presumed experts and religion.
Sometimes prior to 1975, E. coli picked up a Shigella toxin gene unique to an epidemic in Central America. Only the
toxins produced by tetanus and botulism are more dangerous. California researchers identified 20 cases of this unique
strain of Shigella during 1969/70 in a retrospect study in 1972. The first E. coli 0157:H7 case (a Naval Officer)
documented with samples at CDC was in Oakland, California in 1975. The Shigella like toxin (a known neurotoxin that
produces delayed limb paralysis and death) was sequenced in 1986. It was noted that Escherichia coli of various
serotypes, Salmonella typhimurium, and Vibrio choterae also produce the toxin. Researchers at Walter Reed Hospital
had cloned the toxin producing gene by 1987.
While current PR efforts is to blame animals for spreading the disease organism in Salinas Valley, California lettuce
and spinach outbreaks, rather than reclaimed sewage water effluent, a USDA investigation in 1982 did not find 0157:
H7 in any cattle in the United States. Sixteen years later, in a 1996 Washington state study of 14 herds the
percentages ran from 0 to 8 percent. By 1998 it was estimated that overall up to 5 percent of cattle in the United
States were infected with 0157:H7.
In 2000, Gansheroff and O'Brien found that 28% of the cattle being slaughtered carried the E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria
and 43% of the carcasses tested positive for 0157:H7 contamination. By 2005 another mutated E. coli strain had been
added to the deadly mix. In 2005, University of Idaho researchers sampled 170 dairy and feed lot cattle in Washington,
Idaho, and Alberta, Canada and found “the percentage of animals culture positive for E. coli ONT:H25 ranged from
7.5% to 22.5%, compared to the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 that ranged from 0% to 15%. E. coli ONT:H25 carries
virulence genes similar to 0157:H7.
The original theory was that a virus infecting a Shigella bacteria picked up the toxin gene during the Central American
epidemic and transferred it to a E. coli bacteria and was then transported to the United States by an infected person. A
real possibility since British bacteriologist Frederick Griffith first proved in 1928 that a nonpathogenic bacteria could
pick up the virulent gene of a dead bacteria. However, by 1982, EPA’s Mark C. Meckes reported in a study of
wastewater treatment plants that “research has demonstrated that bacteria carrying transmissible R-factors [genetic
transfer] are responsible for the spread of multiple antibiotic resistence among members of the Entero-bacteriaceae
(such as E. coli, Samonella typi, and Shigella dysenteriae) Aeromonas and Yersinis species (4), Pseudomonas, and
Marcinek, et al., (1998) confirmed the transfer of genetic material in wastewater treatment plants and stated, "the data
for conjugal transfer of genes and genetic elements between different strains of E. faecalis and between this bacterium
and other bacterial species (in both directions [i.e., to and from E. faecalis]) under laboratory conditions are too
numerous to be cited here." Marcinek said, "Heat treatment resulted in enhanced gene transfer from Escherichia coli
to various coryneform bacteria as did other stress situations, such as exposure to organic solvents or detergents and
In May 2006, University of Minnesota researchers published data showing that extremely high numbers of multi-drug
resistant bacteria (173) in effluent (treated water) at high levels are being released into the environment from highly
efficient, award winning, sewage wastewater treatment plants. Researchers were very concerned when they found
extremely fast transfer of the drug resistant gene between bacteria in the treatment plant which confirmed EPA studies
from the 80s.
In June 2006, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) research arm documented that the treatment processes for
sewage sludge (biosolids) stressed bacteria to the point they could not be cultured by standard laboratory methods.
However, when dewatered in a centrifuge bacteria returned to the original level and continued to replicate.
Ocean dumping was banned because this hazardous sludge was destroying the ocean environment and spreading
disease among the fish. Yet, since 1981, EPA has had a policy promoting the disposal of bacterial contaminated
sewage sludge on food crops rather than complying with the law which states that if anything in a solid waste will harm
the public it is a hazardous waste. While the EPA Hazardous Waste regulation has reserved a category for disease
organisms (Etiologic Agents) in solid waste, it has yet to list even one or develop a treatment for them. Therefore, by
EPA standards E. coli 0157:H7 is not a hazard to your health. However, under FDA rules, these disease organisms
must be handled in a biohazard safety laboratory.
EPA and the WEF first concentrated on gaining acceptance for the disposal of bacterial contaminated sewage sludge
on farm and cattle grazing land. Once cattle were infected by the E. coli in sewage sludge, EPA and WEF concentrated
on regulating dairy people in California who had opposed sludge disposal on farmland. Dairies were the first to be hit
hard from Washington to Vermont.
To confuse politicians and farmers who accept sludge, EPA and WEF playfully changed the name to Biosolids, which
magically made this hazardous mixture a safe fertilizer and soil amendment for your lawn and garden and school
playgrounds. There is still at least one retired EPA sludge expert running around the country proclaiming the safety of
sludge based on the regulation. He claims there is 40 years of research that proves sewage sludge is safe to use on
food crops and your lawn. In fact, he claims to have wrote the regulation. Yet, when you read the regulation -- direct
exposure or indirect exposure through the air, water or food chain to any of the disease organisms, organic chemicals
or inorganic chemicals (pollutants) or combination thereof, could cause death, disease, cancer, etc., and the EPA
administrator has the documentation to prove it. I wonder what this expert really did at EPA, besides being a sludge
Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to eliminate all disease organisms from the effluent. Best management
practices depends on dilution of the effluent in a moving stream of water. However, EPA and WEF have promoted the
use of this bacterial contaminated sewage effluent as reclaimed water safe for use on food crops and even recharging
aquifers that we use for drinking water.
EPA and WEF assure us that E. coli dies off quickly outside the treatment plant. However, the Cancer Research
Center, Columbia, MO reported that “When Escherichia coli cells reach stationary phase of growth, specific gene
products are synthesized that protect cells while dormant. "Aged" cells may remain viable in cultures for years. For
example, agar cultures stored for 38 years still had more than 10(5) viable cells/ml.”
Total deaths from foodborne diseases was estimated at 9,000 a year in 1994. CDC dropped the estimate to 5,000 a
year in 1999 and still use that figure, even though foodborne illnesses actually doubled between 1994 and 1999. I
think one example of an E. coli induced death is adequate for this article.
Reporter GINA KOLATA, The New York Times January 6, 1998, quotes “Nancy Donley, a Chicago mother whose son,
Alexander, died in 1993 from an E.coli O157:H7 infection. In just four days, it "destroyed all of Alex's internal organs
and liquefied parts of his brain,"“
Politics wants to protect us (actually the politicians) from the results they think panic would cause if we knew the extent
of our exposure and the potential human catastrophes caused by the 1981 sludge disposal policy developed by EPA
and USDA, and approved by FDA and CDC. It is a fact, the federal laws haven't been enforced and the EPA policy of
magic is not going to work anymore. The 21 Salinas Valley, California disease outbreaks cause by contaminated
produce is just the tip of the iceberg we see of the coming health and economy disaster. The question is, what will the
politicians who swore an oath on the Bible to uphold the laws (already on the books) do to protect us?