Two Danes get German E. coli strain from relatives: official

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A six-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman contracted a deadly E. coli bacteria that has killed some 50 people mainly in Germany from relatives who travelled there, a Danish laboratory said Thursday.

"Two Danish patients have tested positive for (enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, or EHEC) 0104 after close contact with patients infected in Germany," the State Serum Institute (SSI) said in a statement.

The bacteria is most often transmitted through food consumption, but "since EHEC can transmit from person to person through food or hands polluted with fecal matter, these new cases emphasise the importance of good hygiene when in contact with EHEC patients," the statement added.

The latest cases, detected in mid-June and the beginning of July, bring to 25 the number of Danes who have fallen ill with the bacteria, including 10 who have contracted haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a kidney complaint caused by EHEC, according to SSI.

The EHEC outbreak that began in May has to date killed 50 people, all of them in Germany except for one person in the United States and one woman in Sweden who died shortly after returning home from a visit to Germany.

The outbreak, which was initially blamed on Spanish cucumbers, has been traced to organic vegetable sprouts grown in northern Germany.

Suspicion has also fallen on a batch of fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt in 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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