MAYWOOD, N.J. -- Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation's proprietary NXC-4720 product for the treatment of potentially fatal E. coli O157:H7 contamination has proven effective in reducing the level of contamination on fresh beef by 99 percent, according to laboratory studies. Despite efforts to improve the safety of the U.S. food supply, outbreaks of potentially deadly E. coli O157 food contamination remain common according to a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [Emerging Infectious Diseases April 2005 11:603- 609].
The researchers found that from 1982 to 2002, a total of 350 E. coli O157 outbreaks spanning 49 states were reported to the CDC; many outbreaks went unrecognized or unreported. While ground beef was the most common source of outbreaks, other sources such as produce, dairy products, drinking water and animal contact were also significant. According to the study, E. coli O157 infection each year in the U.S. causes an estimated 73,480 illnesses, leading to an estimated 2,168 hospitalizations and 61 deaths and creating an important cause of acute kidney failure in children.
E. coli O157 contamination is a serious problem for the meat packing industry. One United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study estimated the direct and indirect costs of foodborne E. coli O157 infections at over $650 million per year. In 2002 alone, over 23 million pounds of meat were recalled in the U.S. because of possible E. coli contamination, affecting all sectors of the meat industry from large meat processors to local supermarkets and many consumers. On average, Americans consume more than 65 pounds of beef per person per year.
E. coli O157:H7 bacterial contamination is a major public health problem throughout the world. This type of E. coli infection can cause severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps and can lead to kidney failure, particularly in young children and in the elderly, with often serious long term and sometimes fatal results.
Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation is a biotechnology company engaged in the research and development of therapeutics and diagnostics, with a particular emphasis on products targeted for the unmet needs of the aging population.
Source: Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation