Spain digs into cucumber E. coli outbreak

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain is trying to unearth the source of an E. coli infection in its cucumbers, blamed for an outbreak of the dangerous food-borne bacteria in Germany, an official said Friday.

German authorities identified organic cucumbers from Almeria and Malaga in the southern region of Andalusia as being a source of the bacteria, the European Commission said Thursday.

The outbreak is blamed for two deaths in Germany and has been detected in Sweden, Denmark, Britain and the Netherlands.

"The Andalusian authorities are investigating to find out where the contamination comes from and when it took place," said a spokesman for the Spanish food safety agency AESA.

"This type of bacteria can contaminate at the origin or during handling of the product," the spokesman said. Spain was seeking further information from the German authorities, he said.

There has been no report of contamination within Spain, AESA said.

Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli causes haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), which can result in acute renal failure, seizures, strokes and coma.

Germany's national disease centre, the Robert Koch Institute, says that more than 200 people have been diagnosed with HUS and that at least two people have died.

The European commission said 214 cases of HUS had been recorded in Germany, with 68 percent concerning women. Sweden had reported 10, Denmark four, Britain three and the Netherlands one.

© 2011 AFP

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