Dutch probe samples for deadly bacteria

6th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch authorities Monday said they were analysing samples of sprouting seeds here following a deadly bacterial outbreak in neighbouring Germany that has killed 22 in Europe.

Food and consumer safety authority spokeswoman, Marian Bartelink, however stressed: "There is absolutely no indication at the moment that the bacterium is present in the Netherlands."

"This is a simple precaution, we have taken samples for analysis," she told AFP.

Germany on Monday probed locally grown sprouts as the likely source for the killer enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strain which has claimed 21 victims in the country and one woman in Sweden, who had returned from Germany.

The state agriculture ministry of Lower Saxony in northern Germany said it would issue results of the latest tests carried out at a small local farm suspected of producing the contaminated sprouts later Monday.

Dutch cucumber, tomato and paprika growers have seen a massive drop in exports to Germany after the sudden outbreak of EHEC, which can result in full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a disease that causes bloody diarrhoea, serious liver damage and possible death.

Five people in the Netherlands have been confirmed as suffering from EHEC -- four of them also have HUS. The patients had all recently been to Germany.

A group of Dutch experts comprising doctors and scientists were to meet later Monday to discuss measures should an EHEC epidemic hit the Netherlands, Dutch Institute for Public Health spokesman Toon van Wijk said.

© 2011 AFP

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