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Monday May 30, 13:07

Contaminated vegetables: Origin of the deadly bacteria still unknown

E.coli Enterohemorrhagic (EHEC)
E.coli Enterohemorrhagic (EHEC)

The German authorities said Sunday that the source of the contamination of vegetables by bacteria causing at least two and ten deaths has still not been identified.

"While the experts in Germany and Spain are not able to identify with certainty the origin of the pathogen, the general alarm remains," said German Minister for Food, the Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ilse Aiger, in an interview to Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "The authorities are doing everything they can to clarify this matter, both nationally and internationally," she added.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, salad

Given the rapid spread of the disease, German health authorities have advised against the consumption of tomatoes, cucumbers and raw salads, especially those from northern Germany.

At this stage, the Robert Koch Institute, the federal institution in charge of health control and the fight against disease and that keeps the official count of the number of patients and victims, has confirmed two deaths caused by E.coli Enterohemorrhagic (EHEC).

Analyses are underway in eight other deaths suspected to have the same cause.

Suspicions on greenhouse crops in Spain

Propagated in particular by the consumption of raw vegetables, E. Coli enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC) can cause simple diarrhea and bloody diarrhea to severe kidney damage or death called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

According to the Robert Koch Institute, more than 270 people have been affected in recent weeks against a sixty per year in Germany. The home is located in northern Germany but suspiscion cases have been reported in Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Netherlands, Austria, France and Switzerland.

Suspicion falls so far to Spain, after the European Commission has complained of cucumbers from greenhouse crops in Andalusia, but do not exclude that the contamination could have occurred along the distribution chain.

Samples of batches considered suspects were sent to a laboratory in Galicia (northwest Spain) and first results are expected Monday.


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