Three suspected cases of mystery e-coli in US

2nd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Health officials said Thursday three people in the United States are suspected to have fallen ill from e-coli bacteria after traveling to Germany where the mystery outbreak has killed 17.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was awaiting blood samples before any confirmation could be made, spokesman Tom Skinner told AFP. The suspected cases were not fatal.

Earlier, Britain said seven people there had been infected with the bacteria, including three British nationals who had recently traveled to Germany and four German nationals.

A total of 18 people in Europe have died from the outbreak, all but one of them in Germany.

German authorities have failed to pinpoint the source of the bacteria, which has sickened more than 2,000 people in the last month, but have warned consumers against eating raw vegetables.

The Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) has caused full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly disease that causes bloody diarrhea and serious liver damage, in 500 of those infected.

There were contradictory accounts as to whether the strain of E. coli was new, or whether Europe was witnessing the first outbreak of a rare but known type of bacteria that officials believe is carried by raw vegetables.

The outbreak was initially blamed on Spanish cucumbers by German officials who later admitted that they were in the dark about its origin.

© 2011 AFP

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