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Deadly E.Coli Outbreak in Germany

Deadly E.Coli Outbreak in Germany

An E.Coli outbreak that has killed at least ten people so far in Germany has been possibly traced to cucumbers imported from Spain, according to the BBC. Cases have also been reported in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK, all places where Germans travel and the cucumbers may also have been exported to the Czech Republic and also to Austria, Hungary and Luxembourg.

For consumers in the US and Canada, the outbreak is far away. But it’s a reminder to be careful about what you eat and about sanitation when traveling in the summer.

Reuters reports that, according to the Stockholm-based European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 214 cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a type of E. coli, have been reported. Of those 214, the online journal Eurosurveillance says that 186 are 18 years or older and 146 are female. The outbreak is, says the ECDC, “one of the largest described of HUS worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany.” HUS is usually observed in children under 5 years of age.

While many varieties of E. Coli are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhea, HUS affects the blood, kidneys and, in severe cases, the central nervous system and requires hospitalization. 

The Hamburg Institute for Hygiene and the Environment (HU) analyzed three of the four contaminated cucumbers and has said they can be traced to Spain; the country of origin of the fourth cucumber is not yet known. Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that early studies have also implicated raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. Health officials in Germany have advised people to stop eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuces and some of these foods have been taken off of shelves in groceries.

Spain has announced restrictions on two suspected cucumber exporters from Andalucia. No cases of HUC have yet been reported in Spain and officials said that Spanish consumers should not change their eating habits.

The spread of infection may not be over, though. Helge Karch, a scientist from Munster University, warns that the spread of secondary infection is not over:

“It is possible that there will be secondary infections during this outbreak as well. These secondary infections work from man to man and they can be avoided. That’s why we have to do everything possible for better personal hygiene.”

This is the second big food scare for Germany this year. Highly toxic dioxin was found in egg, poultry and pork products in January.

A few years ago, a friend’s niece contracted E. Coli from contaminated hamburger meat from a family barbecue. She is all right now, but had to be hospitalized for a long time and go through dialysis. So if you’re planning to fire up the grill for Memorial Day, make sure your burgers are fully cooked, especially if you’re feeding children and the elderly.


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Photo by karenandbrademerson.

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3:52AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

Ecoli was tested for and not found in cucumbers, salad, tomatoes and sprouts... The scare stories are going ton continue until you eat nothing but factory farm produced meat, which of course is completely safe and has no Ecoli in it, right?

WRONG... what is the real story?

12:40PM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

very scary!!!!!!!!!

9:00PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

It's not just hit Germany
Many other's as far as the USA have been effected

8:35AM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

If you like cukes, buy a large jar of nice deli pickles...all the safer and acquire the taste and can also be added to salads and as a side dish with other foods. If you like tomatoes, go with the packaged "dried tomatoes" for a change. Chop them up, add some olive oil and herbs, can use them in a variety of ways. Likely a better option to eating fresh tomatoes. Can also buy the dried tomatoes in olive oil in the jars. Just a few suggestions.

3:46AM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

Genetic Modified If ask me
just as was the swine flu was

12:06PM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

Bernadette, I live in souther mexico, i guess we know something of each others worlds.

Yodo won't hurt you unless your drinking water laced with it, for a considerably time.

I often work on projects with iffy cleanliness, thats when i pull out the sanitizers, to be sure. Always a bottle in the truck, i think you know what i mean.

9:43AM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

thanks for sharing.

9:31AM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

to Michael C

Thanks for the advice will try it...after living in asia for soooo long Cleaning second nature!!

Thanks for sharing!

6:46AM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

Hope they solve this issue quickly before more people get ill.

3:37AM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

Very frightening! This is when all my doubting friends/family make comments such as cheez whiz is the only healthy food!

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