E. coli outbreak kills 17 in Europe

World Health Organization says fatal strain is new


A new strain of E. coli has killed 17 people in Europe, with the number of infections rising above 1,500 in 9 different countries (though infections are predominantly German). The source of the outbreak remains unknown. However, the Spanish government is threatening legal action against Germany for blaming the outbreak on imported Spanish organic cucumbers. The Germans retracted their statement, making the distinction between the strain of E. coli found in Spanish cucumbers and this one—enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), which can cause the deadly haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS). This particular strain is located in the digestive tracts of cows, humans, and other mammals. The Robert Koch Institute—the German federal institute responsible for disease control—found 1169 cases of EHEC, 470 of which include victims of HUS as well. People infected with HUS have suffered neural disorders, epileptic fits, and slurred speech.


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E. coli outbreak kills 17 in Europe

  1. Foodborne diseases such as caused by Salmonella, e-coli, listeria  and others are a leading cause  of hospital  admisssions. The latest estimates is that foodborne diseases kill an estimated 5000 people in the USA and by extrapolation 500 in Canada.   And yet they can be easily prevented – it is well known that  food irradiation will prolong the food shelf life  significantly as it will kill organisms such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli), Staphyloccoccus aureus (Staph), Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni and Toxoplasma gondii and others. It seems almost criminal that food inspection agencies have not taken the neccessary steps to permit or require food irradiation – here the benefits far outweigh its cost.  

    Dé Groeneveld

    • I just wanted to ask a few questions.  First, do they know if the e-coli came from contaminated ground water or from fertilizer….because the cucumbers were organic, perhaps manure used for fertilizer had not been “cooked” long enough?  Second, if vegetables are irradiated are they still considered “organic” under the guidelines?

      • My mistake….apparently this strain did not come from the cucumbers at all…but perhaps from salad greens in Northern Germany.  Still I wonder if irradiation is “okay” for organic vegetables.

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