Ohio State to co-host international E. coli symposium

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WOOSTER, Ohio -- Ohio State University food safety researchers have been selected to co-host the premier international scientific meeting dealing with dangerous E. coli infections that continue to pose global health concerns.

The 9th International Symposium on Verocytotoxin Producing Escherichia coli Infections (VTEC) will be held in Boston in 2015. The Agricultural Research Service's Food Safety Program and Colorado State University are the other two hosts. Organized every three years, VTEC was last held in Amsterdam earlier this month and hasn't been hosted by the United States in 18 years.

Verocytotoxin, or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, include E. coli O157:H7 -- a dangerous strain that often leads to bloody diarrhea and can cause kidney failure, especially in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. However, other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains are also associated with disease, including a recent outbreak of E. coli O26 linked to raw clover sprouts that infected 29 people in 11 states (http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2012/O26-02-12/index.html).

"This conference highlights and fosters international communication about the most recent and cutting-edge issues surrounding the prevention, control and treatment of this important pathogen," said Jeff LeJeune, an Ohio State microbiologist and veterinary researcher and one of the meeting's hosts. "Participants include researchers working on genomics, animal scientists, clinicians treating people with E. coli... the whole scope. All of us are working together toward the common goal of getting rid of E. coli disease."

This year, VTEC gathered more than 500 researchers from 39 countries.

A researcher with the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension, LeJeune specializes in the study of E. coli and other foodborne illnesses at the farm level and the development of methods to reduce contamination of foods pre-harvest.

For more information about the symposium (including opportunities for co-sponsorship), contact LeJeune at 330-263-3739 or lejeune.3@osu.edu.

OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.



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