Thursday, June 30, 2011

E. coli outbreaks linked to Egypt -- the game of musical virus plays on

E. coli outbreaks in Germany and France could have come from seeds sourced in Egypt, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said.

A report said there was still "much uncertainty", but fenugreek seeds imported in 2009 and 2010 "had been implicated in both outbreaks".

More than 4,000 people were infected during the German outbreak, 48 died.

Investigators traced the source back to a bean sprout farm in Bienenbuettel, Lower Saxony.

The outbreak in Bordeaux affected 15 people and was linked to seeds sold by a company in the UK - Thompson and Morgan, although the firm said it had no evidence of a link.

Both outbreaks involved the rare strain of E. coli known as O104:H4.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the strain was so rare in humans the outbreaks were unlikely to have been isolated incidents and both were linked to eating sprouting seeds. (read more)