The virulent strain of E. coli has managed to claim to lives of 19 people in Europe, while more than 2000 people remained affected. The outbreak has spread to 12 countries in Europe, and even has 4 people in the US affected. The WHO said that 18 deaths have been reported from Germany and 1 from Sweden, though the problem has been spreading to other parts of Europe at an alarming rate.
E. coli (EHEC) strain causes hemorrhage of the intestines, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and kidney failure. When the problem was first reported, the European Food Safety Alert Network had reported that the enterohemorrhagic E. coli was said to have been found in cucumbers that came from Spain and were packaged in Germany, though now the feel is that the source of contamination is not absolutely clear. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute has advised people not to consume raw cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. Health authorities across Europe have been stumped by the outbreak, and are still unclear whether the peak of the outbreak has passed, is right now, or has still to come. The United States Food and Drug Administration has said that all cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce imported from Germany and Spain will be tested and cleared before being sold in the US, and these test results will be shared with the European Union. Chris Braden of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “A fourth person developed bloody diarrhea, but was not hospitalized. We have no expectation that this will spread in our country.”
The death toll has been rising in the E. coli outbreak in Europe, and consumers worldwide, especially in Europe are advised not to consume cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce in a raw form, at least until things are more clearer to health experts regarding this outbreak.