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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Confirmed E. coli cases rise to 17 in Denmark

Via Xinhua :

" The number of confirmed cases of severe intestinal infection caused by a deadly E. coli outbreak has risen to 17 in Denmark, authorities said Thursday.

Nearly all the confirmed cases, including nine women and eight men, had recently traveled to Germany, where the outbreak started more than a week ago, according to the National Serum Institute (NSI).

Children are normally the most vulnerable to the infection. But Kaare Moelbak, an expert in epidemiology at the NSI, told Xinhua the outbreak is "very unusual" in that 88 percent of those infected are above the age of 20 years.

Food authorities here declared Danish cucumbers safe Tuesday following laboratory tests.

Germany is struggling to find the exact source of contamination. The outbreak has killed 18 people and sickened more than 1,500 others across Europe, including 470 who have developed a rare kidney failure complication, according to the latest reports.

Researchers have been unable to pinpoint the cause of the illness, which has hit at least nine European countries, and prompted Russia on Thursday to extend a ban on vegetables to the entire European Union.

German officials have warned people not to eat lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. To avoid foodborne illnesses, WHO recommends people wash their hands before eating or cooking food, separating raw and cooked meat from other foods, thoroughly cooking food, and washing fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw. Experts also recommend peeling raw fruits and vegetables if possible."

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