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EU health body says German E. coli outbreak serious

05-30-2011 11:07 BJT Special Report:EU Struggles with E. Coli Outbreak |

LONDON - An E. coli outbreak in Germany which has infected more than 270 people and killed at least five is one of the biggest of its kind worldwide and the largest ever in Germany, European health experts said on Saturday.

A worker harvests cucumbers in a greenhouse in El Ejido in Andalucia, in
southeast Spain, May 26, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

German officials said on Thursday they suspected cucumbers imported from Spain as a possible source of the outbreak of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a type of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

In a risk assessment of the outbreak, the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors disease in the European Union, called it "one of the largest described outbreaks of STEC/HUS worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany".

A growing cucumber is pictured in a greenhouse of El Ejido, in Andalucia, in
southeastern Spain, May 28, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

It said latest reports were of 276 cases of HUS in Germany since April 25. Smaller numbers of cases have also been reported in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain - all linked with recent travel to Germany.

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