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German E. Coli Kills 6; US On Alert

Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011 12:49 PM


U.S. health officials are keeping a close eye on an outbreak of E. coli infections in Germany that has sickened 1,000 people in Europe and caused at least six deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O104, or STEC O104, centered in Germany, Fox News reported.
Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, reported that 470 people are now suffering from kidney failure up from 373 cases reported just a day before. CDC said that two cases of kidney failure, or hemolytic uremic syndrome, have been reported in the United States "in persons with recent travel to Hamburg, Germany.” The CDC is waiting for lab results to confirm if these cases are directly related to STEC O104, according to Fox.
Most cases of HUS occur in children. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. CDC officials said this deadly strain of E. coli is rare and no cases have ever been reported in the United States.
The source of the infection is not known, but scientists suspect vegetables or salads being a possible source due to the use of cattle manure as a fertilizer. "E. coli can attach to the surface of many fresh produce, such as lettuce leaves, spinach leaves, and cucumber. These type of E.coli survive harsher environmental conditions than ... and produce some nasty toxins to humans," Brendan Wren of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine told Fox.
The outbreak started in mid-May and has sickened more than 1,000 people in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden. The CDC said German officials had confirmed six deaths.
To read the Fox News report, Go Here Now.

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