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Cornell University offers expert comments on E. coli outbreak

In recent days New York state has faced a major outbreak of illness, and a fatality, caused by the E. coli O157:H7 bacterium. The bacterium is believed to have been spread through infected well water.

Cornell University News Service is offerering expert faculty to comment on a broad number of topics involving the outbreak, including detection of the bacterium, its survival, its contamination of water systems and of food.

Carl Batt, (607) 255-2896, is a professor of food science at Cornell and is the director of Cornell's Laboratory for Molecular Typing. Batt's research focuses on the detection and epidemiological tracking of food pathogens, and developing a data base of specific strains of microorganisms.

Kathryn Boor, (607) 255-3111, is a microbiologist in the Department of Food Science at Cornell's New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Boor specifically studies the physiology of E. coli O157:H7 and is able to describe how that organism survives in food and the environment, and causes disease in people.

Ann T. Lemley, (607) 255-3151, an environmental chemist, is the director of the Water Quality Extension Program at Cornell. She studies the degradation of contaminants in ground water, surface water and wastewater. Lemley's extension program focuses on environmental issues, such as drinking water quality, protection of ground water, household chemicals and hazardous waste, home water treatment, drinking water standards, private wells and septic systems.

Patrick L. McDonough, (607) 253-3900, is a bacteriologist in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. McDonough can describe the causes and effects of E. coli O157:H7 contamination of food and water from a variety of sources, including domestic animals.

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