E coli enigma

The recent outbreak of E-coli whereby over twenty have died and thousands taken ill has baffled many. However, what is most interesting for those that study outbreaks of public diseases, is that it seemed to affect mainly women. Now that enough time has passed some of the puzzling pieces have been found to fit together.
The e-coli bacteria are everywhere to be found and our bodies generally have anti-bodies that fight most diseases including the E coli nasties. This strain of E coli was strangely different and way out of the ‘norm’, very toxic and a new kid on the block. The normal arsenal of anti-biotic medications didn’t seem to work very well and authorities were scrambling to get a handle on the outbreak.

The culprit was at first thought to be Spanish cucumbers. On TV were shown endless footage of crates of very nice looking cucumbers being dumped into large containers, followed by equal dumping of beautiful, very red and luscious looking tomatoes. Some of the cucumber exporters were immediately thrown out of the business and fridges everywhere were emptied from cucumbers. Not a fruit and veggie shop dared to display cucumbers and even tomatoes were shunned.
There were expert opinions popping up from everywhere. Many televised interviews with very serious looking but world- wide respected epidemical professors, including even a lengthy debate on the very revered and estimable Tom Lehrer News Hour. The chemical complexities of the toxins were discussed and the best advice that was offered was the old trusted stand by, ‘wash your hands and your vegetables.’

The sale of lettuce spinners sky rocketed and manufacturers were working feverishly on future gadgets that could be linked to a safer and better way of dealing with vegetables, combined of course, to million dollar instant profits.

The attention then moved from Spain over the Pyreneans to Germany. Many had been taken ill and some had even died. It was starting to look very worrying but the experts were starting to hone in to finding the real culprit. The Spanish cucumbers were mightily relieved and even the tomatoes were given the all clear. In fact Spain was not found to have been responsible. Who would have thought the Germans were responsible for this E coli outbreak? The well disciplined German vegetable growers? How could that be?

Spain is furious and has now taken to demanding compensation from Germany for having cast aspersions on the Spanish in the first place. The cucumber and tomato growers and export merchants in Spain will push for more than just an Olé!
This time, with the news media hurriedly flown to Germany, footage of a German restaurant was shown were many of the sick had been tucking away, eating nourishing meals, no doubt washed down with a well filled stein of frothy beer. The restaurant owner, while glaring defiantly into the camera, was shown munching on a fistful of lettuce leaves. A gesture so comic and, like so much of real life, also desperately sad. He knew his restaurant was verging on total collapse. Can you imagine the whole world watching and being focussed on his enterprise and on his bean sprouts?

Bean sprouts were found to have been the culprit and again footage was shown of the suspect bean sprout farm. This time the camera seemed to peer through some undergrowth and it was all a bit secretive. Perhaps the owner bean sprout farmer had been tipped off and was lying low behind some bushes, hoping to wait it all out, his wife hurriedly had made him sandwiches and a thermos of coffee?

Anyway, since then the mystery of why mainly women had succumbed to this E coli outbreak was also solved.
Women eat salads far more than men.
Men concentrate on meat, women on salads. Amazing, isn’t it? So simple was the answer. It is true. Go to any restaurant and men far more than women will order meaty dishes, while women gravitate to quiches or dishes with salads or vegetables. This concentration of eating meat by men is also often accompanied by silence. No mere words must interfere with meat eating. Many a woman must despair when they go out with partners and the meal is eaten in total silence. The steak is hoed into by the male, not a single word spoken, with the burning candle flickering away the only indication of a hoped for lingering romantic evening.

Cynical males might well respond and say that the preferred eating of vegetables or salads by women is because they fear weight gain and will eat rather a thinly sliced cucumber with some lettuce than risk putting on a single ounce. Getting E coli seems a very and unnecessary cruel punishment.

Just wash your hands and your vegetables.


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