Britain says E. coli cases rise to 11

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Britain confirmed four more cases of a rare form of E. coli poisoning that has killed 19 people across Europe, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 11, health officials said Friday.

All the cases so far have been related to Germany, the epicentre of the mysterious outbreak which has so far affected 12 countries, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said in a statement.

"The HPA can confirm four new cases of bloody diarrhoea in England suspected to be related to this outbreak. All new cases are related to recent travel to Germany," the agency said in a statement.

"This brings the total number of cases in England to 11."

Three of those had full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) -- a disease that can cause serious liver damage -- and the other eight suffered bloody diarrhoea, it said.

The agency said on Thursday that three of an initial seven people infected were British nationals and four were German nationals.

It repeated its advice to travellers to Germany to avoid eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy salad including lettuce, and for anyone returning from Germany with illness to seek urgent medical attention.

A senior German medical official said Friday that the outbreak appears to have stabilised, as authorities continued to hunt the elusive source of the killer bug.

© 2011 AFP

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