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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blame game begins over German E. coli outbreak

Article from DW World, E Coli outbreak in German seems to be getting from bad to worse and it's spreading in Europe, and now you have the fingers pointing everywhere :

" The outbreak of a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria found on cucumbers in Germany has claimed 16 lives. With new cases emerging in seven other countries, governments are pointing fingers at the German authorities.

The highly virulent strain of the Enterohemorrhagic E.coli bacteria (EHEC) claimed its first victim outside Germany on Tuesday, while health authorities in seven other European countries confirmed a total of at least 73 cases of the infection. More than 1,500 cases have been reported in Germany.

A hospital in Sweden announced the death of a woman from the EHEC bacteria. The woman, who was in her 50s, had been treated in the southwestern Swedish town of Boras after a recent visit to Germany.

The gastro-intestinal bacterial infection - believed to stem from contaminated vegetables and possibly meat - has now spread beyond Germany and Sweden to Poland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and Britain.

Sweden confirmed 40 cases, Denmark 14, the Netherlands seven, France six, Britain three, and Poland, Norway and Switzerland one each.

On Sunday, a 91-year-old woman in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany died from the intestinal bacteria, and the state confirmed a second death on Monday.

This brings the total number of victims who have died from the recent E. coli outbreak in Germany to at least 15. Most of the victims have been women living in northern Germany.

Tensions rise as outbreak spreads

The source of the deadly E. coli strain was thought to be cucumbers imported from Spain, but tests on the vegetable done by the Hamburg Health Department ruled this out and the search for the source of the infections continues.

The outbreak, one of the largest of its kind, has raised diplomatic tensions between Germany, Spain, France and Russia. Moscow has banned some vegetable imports and is threatening to extend the ban to the whole of the European Union.

Spanish media reported that Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Hungary, Sweden, Belgium and Russia were blocking entry of Spanish cucumbers."

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