E.Coli outbreak in Europe linked to cucumbers
Spanish cucumbers have been confirmed as one of the sources that is responsible for the outbreak of E.Coli in Germany.
Although the outbreak of the potentially lethal food-borne bacteria has been seen principally in Germany where two deaths have been reported, there have also been cases in Britain, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Authorities have identified batches of organic batches of cucumber from the Alneria and Malaga regions of Spain as a potential E.Coli source.
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A third batch of cucumbers which came to Germany from the Netherlands is also under investigation and German authorities are searching for other causes.
Warnings are being given to healthcare authorities across Europe to look out for signs of the illness, such as bloody diarrhoea, particularly in travellers who have recently returned from Germany.
People who are planning to travel to Germany are also being warned not to eat raw vegetables or salad, in particular lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.
The current outbreak of E.Coli is the O104 version; a strain which is rarely seen. Germany is experiencing a large number of cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of the verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) infection.
Sufferers of the VTEC infection will require hospital treatment as it can affect the victim’s blood and kidneys and in severe circumstances it can affect the central nervous system.
German authorities are stressing that it is essential to identify cases of E.Coli quickly to prevent the illness from spreading further.
Cases of HUS have been reported in Germany since mid-May and more than 200 cases have been diagnosed, with two deaths.
Sweden has seen ten cases of E.Coli, Denmark four, Britain three and the Netherlands has had one case of the illness so far.