Saturday, June 4, 2011

Death toll rises in E. coli outbreak as Europe continues to panic



An outbreak of a virulent strain of E. coli has killed 19 people in Europe and infected more than 2,000 in at least 12 countries, the World Health Organization said on Saturday.

All but one of the fatalities were reported in Germany, where officials say it's still too early to determine whether the peak of the outbreak has passed. One person in Sweden also died.

In Germany, there have been 573 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) -- a form of kidney failure -- in the current European outbreak, according to WHO. That's more cases of HUS than in any other recorded outbreak, worldwide.

Twelve patients in Germany have died of HUS, according to WHO, while six died of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, EHEC, a strain that causes hemorrhaging in the intestines and can result in abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. (read more)