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Image: AP Photo/dapd/ Marius Roeer

Ten die in Germany from E.coli outbreak linked to cucumbers

Spanish authorities are refuting claims made by German experts that the contamination came from imported Spanish cucumbers.
May 29th 2011, 11:37 AM 454 0

TEN PEOPLE HAVE died in Germany as a result of a severe E.coli outbreak which has been linked to cucumbers. Hundreds of people have fallen ill as a result of the disease.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the outbreak is the biggest to ever strike Germany and one of the largest ever in the world, Deutsche Welle reports.

Two Spanish farms at Malaga and Almeria were shut down after German authorities identified imported Spanish cucumbers as the source of the disease, but Spanish authorities have disputed this, saying that there is no evidence the contamination came from Spain, Euronews reports.

On Friday, the ECDC said exposure to the disease appears to have been limited to Germany and there is “no evidence that any potential contaminated food product would have been distributed outside of Germany”. However, the BBC reports today that the cucumbers may also have been sent to the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Luxembourg.

Although none of the contaminated cucumbers are thought to have arrived in Ireland, anyone returning from Germany who feels ill should seek medical attention. Newstalk reports that the Food Safety Authority is contacting Irish retailers over the outbreak in Germany.

Germans are being advised not to eat raw vegetables, as authorities still haven’t found the definite source of the contamination; the cucumbers may have been contaminated at source or in transit. Authorities are also promoting better personal hygiene in a bid to prevent the secondary spread of the disease from person to person.

Symptoms
E.coli bacteria is commonly found in the digestive systems of humans and other warm-blooded animals, according to the World Health Organisation, and although most strains are harmless, some can cause serious illness. It can be transmitted through the consumption of infected food and symptoms include diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, as well as fever and vomiting.

Most people recover within ten days. Children are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

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Susan Ryan

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