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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Killer bacteria claims victims in Germany, Sweden

Via Reuters :

" A killer bacteria linked to contaminated cucumbers claimed a 15th victim in Germany on Tuesday and its first fatality abroad when a Swedish woman who had been traveling in Germany died, authorities said.

One of the largest E.coli outbreaks of its kind, it has also made more than 1,000 people ill in Germany as well as people from Spain, Sweden, Britain, Denmark, France and the Netherlands who had recently been in Germany.

It has also caused diplomatic tension between Germany and countries such as Spain, France and Russia. The source of the virulent strain of the bacteria is unknown, authorities said. Most of the deaths have been in northern Germany.

The E. coli pathogen has been identified on cucumbers imported from Spain, but it is not clear if they were contaminated there, during transport, or possibly in Germany.

"The situation is tense but it can be dealt with," said Health Minister Daniel Bahr at a news conference late on Monday. He said he expected the number of cases to continue rising.

The German government has identified the disease as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a type of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)."

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