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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