Suspected E. coli hospitalises seven in France: police

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Seven people were hospitalised in southwestern France Thursday with suspected E. coli poisoning, police said, following similar outbreaks in the north and in Germany.

"There are three people in serious condition," Nicole Klein, director of the regional health agency told AFP, adding that the group was placed under dialysis.

The three most seriously ill were identified as women aged between 40 and 65, according to an official at a Bordeaux hospital.

A total of six people aged between 19 and 67 had bloody diarrhoea, and two reported other symptoms, pointing to a "suspected multiple case of E. coli infection," police in Bordeaux said in a statement, citing medical authorities.

Seven of these eight were hospitalised. Tests for the E. coli bacteria are under way, it added.

Last week seven children were hospitalised in the northern city of Lille with E. coli poisoning thought to have been caused by eating frozen hamburgers. The police statement said the Bordeaux case was not linked to that one.

An outbreak of a killer strain of E. coli bacteria in Germany has killed at least 43 people, health authorities there said. That outbreak is blamed on organic vegetable sprouts grown in northern Germany.

© 2011 AFP

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