Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Deadly E. coli infections still rising in Germany - 1st June 2011

German researchers are still trying to identify the source of a deadly E. coli outbreak after Spanish cucumbers were found not to have the lethal strain.

About 100 patients in north Germany are reported to be suffering the most severe and potentially fatal symptoms.

The E. coli has killed 16 people - 15 in Germany and one in Sweden.

The reprieve for the Spanish cucumber came too late for growers, who were forced to destroy tonnes of freshly harvested vegetables in southern Spain.

Shoppers in northern Germany are even boycotting locally grown vegetables, the German newspaper die Welt reports.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has advised people not to eat raw vegetables, especially in northern Germany.

Meanwhile, the Spanish government has demanded compensation for affected Spanish growers.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba threatened legal action.

"We may take action against the authorities, in this case Hamburg," he warned on Wednesday.

In Germany, 1,169 have been affected by enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, also known as EHEC.

In many instances, the gastrointestinal infection has led to Haemolytic-uraemic Syndrome (HUS), which causes kidney problems and is potentially fatal.

The RKI has confirmed 373 cases of HUS in Germany.

About half of the HUS patients in Hamburg clinics have suffered neural disorders three to five days after falling ill, such as epileptic fits and slurred speech, die Welt reports. Read More