Disease centre puts E. coli deaths at 22

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The death toll from the killer E. coli outbreak has risen to 22, all but one of them in Germany, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Sunday.

The Stockholm-based centre said 1,605 cases of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) infection had been recorded and 658 others have the associated condition haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).

The vast majority of cases are in Germany, the source of the outbreak, which has 1,536 people infected and 627 with HUS.

The previous death toll stood at 19, 18 of them in Germany, with a suspected 20th case reported there on Saturday. The other victim died in Sweden.

Sunday's figures showed a rise of 328 in cases of EHEC and 107 HUS compared with the previous day, again almost all of them in Germany.

Four new infections were recorded in Britain and Denmark however.

Following the publication of the figures Sweden reported a new case of EHEC, bringing the total affected there to 47 - 32 with EHEC and 15 with HUS, according to the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control.

The WHO has identified the bacteria as a rare E. coli strain never before connected to an outbreak of food poisoning. It is said to be extremely aggressive and resistant to antibiotics.

© 2011 AFP

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