E. coli death toll at least 43: Germany

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The death toll from an outbreak of a killer strain of E. coli bacteria in Germany rose to at least 43 on Thursday, health authorities said.

All but one of the fatalities from enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) have been in Germany, with the other being a woman in Sweden who had recently returned from Germany.

The outbreak, blamed on organic vegetable sprouts grown in northern Germany, has left some 3,800 people ill in 16 countries, more than 850 of them seriously, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The daily numbers of reported cases have steadily decreased since they peaked on May 22. Nevertheless, the cumulative numbers of cases from Germany continue to rise, primarily owing to delays in notification, the WHO said.

A study publish in British medical journal The Lancet on Thursday suggested that the strain was a genetic mix whose ability to stick to intestinal walls may have made it so lethal.

© 2011 AFP

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