I’m always torn about posting this stuff, because while it’s certainly newsworthy, you probably already know that our food system is at high risk and you don’t need to get hit over the head to understand that:
The World Health Organisation has said that the E coli bacterium responsible for an outbreak that has left 17 dead and infected hundreds in Europe is a new strain that has never been seen before.
Preliminary genetic sequencing suggests the strain is a mutant form of two different E coli bacteria, with lethal genes that could explain why the Europe-wide outbreak appeared to be so big and dangerous, the agency said.
Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the WHO, told the Associated Press that “this is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before”.
She added that the new strain has “various characteristics that make it more virulent and toxin-producing”.
So far the mutant E coli strain has infected more than 1,500, including 470 who have developed a rare kidney failure complication. Researchers have been unable to pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, which has hit at least nine European countries.
Massachusetts does have a history of tornadoes, including the fourth-worst in recorded history. So this is not unheard of, but it’s still unusual for the state to see such powerful tornadoes. News reports say that at one point, the tornado that slammed Springfield was the size and strength of the Tuscaloosa tornado that so recently devastated the South:
Multiple tornadoes slammed western and central Massachusetts Wednesday, leaving a path of destruction that destroyed buildings, flipped vehicles and left at least four people dead and an unknown number injured.
At least three tornadoes struck the city of Springfield, Mass., alone, with a fourth unconfirmed twister possibly touching down in the city, Mayor Dominic J. Sarno said. Many of those storms also blasted the areas surrounding the city of more than 150,000 residents situated 90 miles west of Boston.
According to the National Weather Service, seven tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts Wednesday.
The twisters hit as unstable weather threatened the entire Northeast, bringing tornado watches to Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Golf Ball size hail was reported from New York to Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, while thunderstorms produced wind gusts from 60 to 70 miles per hour across New England.
The situation in Massachusetts was so bad that Gov. Deval Patrick declared a statewide state of emergency, calling up 1,000 members of the National Guard.