Greece identifies E.coli case linked to German tourist

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Greek health officials said Tuesday they identified an E.coli strain in a German tourist but that she was likely infected before visiting the country.

The 53-year-old woman showed symptoms "compatible" with the bacteria which has claimed 24 victims since its outbreak in mid-May, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) said in a statement.

Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) can cause bloody diarrhoea and potentially fatal liver damage, as well as full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a serious kidney ailment.

The tourist, who was reportedly visiting the island of Paxos, was infected "outside Greece" given the incubation period. She has "already returned home, and in good health," the centre said.

Greek health officials have been given tips on how to identify E.coli cases in German tourists, it added.

Authorities have yet to identify the source of the outbreak, which has left more than 2,300 people ill and 24 dead in at least 14 countries. German consumers are being advised to avoid raw sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.

© 2011 AFP

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