Written by Staff Writer
Data on the case of a diecast model Ferrari sold in China that may contain contamination from another car is now available to the public, according to Rossana Cambron, a toxicologist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Cambron has studied the sample from the Diecast Ferrari F40, dating from 1998, and said an analysis was necessary to establish whether the porcelain material in the plastic component could have transferred chemical contamination from the car.
“It’s very important to do analysis to see if the problem is in the defect,” Cambron told CNN. “Are we dealing with a chemical contamination or are we dealing with a manufacturing defect?”
News of the case prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to set up a hotline to register individual complaints about the case.
The Chinese Deoxydubulus bug that may be infecting diecast car parts, according to Rossana Cambron, a toxicologist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Photo by U/AP
Agriculture officials confirmed to CNN on November 8 that it is a “variety” of Chinese bacteria that could be harmful, including two strains of TB (superbug) called Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, respectively.
Neither Chinese nor any other person could have caused this particular strain of TB, according to Dr. Anthony Shonfeld, director of the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s International Antimicrobial Discovery Laboratory and the professor of biology and environmental chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.
“It’s probably a cross contaminant,” he said of the contamination, noting that the mixture of germs could potentially cause people to develop life-threatening infections.
Elevated TB bacteria in USA might not have stemmed from China
We don’t know where the bacteria came from, Shonfeld told CNN, explaining that another puzzle to solve is how the bacteria entered the Diecast Ferrari.
The Diecast Ferrari coupe was created from two P180 486 Ferrari F40s combined into one, according to one of its car dealers, who confirmed to CNN the sale was a genuine one.
This particular Diecast Ferrari was made in 1998 and sold in Hong Kong, according to the BBS Peter Sands Dural and Jubecker dealer, where it was bought in March of this year.
“Yes it’s a real car, and yes it was made from two P180 486 Ferrari F40s. Please direct any additional questions to our premium customers as they are the ones capable of answering most pressing questions,” the Peter Sands dealership said in a statement.
The 40-year-old diecast Ferrari F40 is likely “sootier than you expect from a construction material,” said Cambron, as it has been sitting in its case for at least 15 years.
A laboratory analysis of the material collected from the Diecast Ferrari F40 came back as “unknown” on the surface but some levels of crystallization could be of interest to the lab’s scientists, she said.
In its analysis of the sample, Cambron said the lab detected the bacteria Neisseria common bute, which it found is the same species of bacteria that the CDC found in the case.
“This is the main source of the contamination,” she said.
Either way, Cambron said people are unlikely to develop serious illness from such a case, assuming the disease is of tuberculosis, which is treatable with antibiotics.
She estimated the risk of infection at no more than 1% but said that despite that, it’s important to call a hotline to report it.
“I suspect there are more that we didn’t see in the report,” she said.