Should We Worry about the European E. Coli Outbreak?
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Health officials are asking recent visitors to Germany to report gastrointestinal symptoms to their doctors as soon as possible. They're telling doctors and their patients not to treat symptoms of E. coli infection with antibiotics, which could make things worse. Vegetables are not imported from Europe to the United States, so there's no reason for panic here, but there's one surefire way to protect yourself: cook your vegetables. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, illegal drugs, public health and public safety.
Banner image: A farmer drives a tractor over 100,00 heads of romaine, iceberg and ten other types of lettuce in order to mulch them back into the ground at one of his fields on June 4, 2011 near Hamburg, Germany. Vegetable farmers in northern Germany are facing a crisis as public reaction to the current enterohemorrhagic E. coli outbreak has brought vegetable sales to a near halt. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
E. Coli and Antibiotics ()
German health officials said today that the deadliest E. coli outbreak in recorded history did not start with vegetable sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany after all. In the past month, the European outbreak has sickened more than 2300 people, mostly in Germany. Twenty-two people have died. Earlier this week, officials backed away from the claim that it originated in Spanish cucumbers. Should southern Californians be worried? How can people make sense of conflicting messages about the cause?
- Jonathan Fielding: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
- Christine Bruhn: UC Davis' Center for Consumer Research
- Maryann Carpenter: Coastal Farms
- Brad Spellberg: UCLA, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
Is the War on Drugs a Failure? Is It Time to Legalize? ()
The global "War on Drugs" began 50 years ago at the United Nations. Richard Nixon made it US policy 10 years later. Since then it has "failed to cut drug usage, but has filled our jails, cost millions in taxpayer dollars, fuelled organized crime and caused thousands of deaths." That's according to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, three former South American presidents, former Secretary of State George Shultz, ex-Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson. We look at possible new strategies and their political viability in Washington.
- Ethan Nadelmann: Drug Policy Alliance, @ethannadelmann
- Robert DuPont: Georgetown Medical School
- Vanda Felbab-Brown: Brookings Institution, @BrookingsFP
- Beau Kilmer: RAND Drug Policy Research Center
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.
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