E. Coli Outbreak Persists Throughout Europe

Posted on June 8, 2011

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LAUREN LINDER

The source of the detrimental E. coli outbreak in Germany continues to be a mystery.

On Monday, initial tests disclosed that sprouts from a northern Germany farm were not the cause of the fatal outbreak that has distressed Germany and fresh-produce markets across Europe.

Courtesy of MSNBC

The Lower-Saxony State Agriculture Ministry reported that 23 of 40 sprout samples tested from the farm came back negative for the rare, toxic strain of E. coli known as O104:H4.

While these tests have shown that certain sprouts are not the source of the outbreak, people are not out of the woods just yet. The 17 other sprout samples are still under investigation.

Courtesy of the Guardian

“The search for the outbreak’s cause is very difficult as several weeks have passed since its suspected start,” the ministry said in a statement, warning that the ongoing tests were necessary to feel assured.

First broadcast in late May, the deadliest known E. coli outbreak has cost the lives of at least 22 people and has sickened more than 2,300 throughout Europe.

German officials advised people to stay away from sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, due to evidence that identified these vegetables as potential sources.

Germany’s national Disease Control Center reported that the illness has affected 2,231 Germans since May 2, including 630 that were in critical condition. E coli can cause kidney failure and other serious health issues.

Healthy Image Courtesy of wilmstumor.com/ Diseased Kidney Courtesy of pnas.org

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three of the four U.S. residents that have become ill by the intense strain of E. coli are hospitalized with kidney failure.

Investigators planned to do additional tests at the northern Germany sprout farm Monday afternoon.

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Posted in: Global