Germany finds deadly E. coli on cucumbers again

09:41, June 09, 2011      

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Photo provided by Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Infektionsforschung (HZI) shows the E. coli (EHEC) bacteria. The deadly strain for the E. coli outbreak was found again on cucumbers, authorities of German state Saxony-Anhalt said on June 8, 2011. The strain O104 was found on the scraps of cucumbers in a dustbin in the eastern city of Magdeburg, said State Health Minister Holger Paech. (Xinhua/HZI/Manfred Rohde)

The deadly strain for the E. coli outbreak was found again on cucumbers, authorities of German state Saxony-Anhalt said on Wednesday.

The strain O104 was found on the scraps of cucumbers in a dustbin in the eastern city of Magdeburg, said State Health Minister Holger Paech.

The dustbin belongs to a family in which three members have been ill. Paech said. The father only suffered a slight stomach upset, while the mother was once treated at a hospital and is now released. Their daughter is suffering from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication from the infection of E. coli.

However, experts were not clear about how the bacteria came to the cumbers, which have been in the dustbin for a week and a half.

"It is not clear and we are not able to determine how it reached there." Paech said.

German authority first detected such bacteria from Spanish cucumbers on May 26, which has been overthrown by the laboratory tests in Hamburg last Tuesday.

On Sunday, German State Lower Saxony issued a warning on bean sprouts as a possible source for the outbreak, which was proven to be negative on Monday.

The German government has faced increasing criticism from abroad and at home for dealing with this crisis, as it has wrongly blamed the source of the infection for twice and there is a lack of coordination between different research institutes on the outbreak.

John Dalli, European Union Health Commissioner, was quoted by local daily Die Welt saying "we have to rely on the experience and expertise across Europe, and even outside Europe."

The Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin also called for a federal government representative to coordinate the various government agencies which are dealing with the crisis.

A federal government representative could increase cooperation between ministries and reduce mixed messages from the government, said director Stefan Kaufmann.

On the same day, Germany's national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said the number of infection has shown an overall decreasing trend but it is still uncertain whether the decline is due to people staying away from vegetables or to the waning of the source of infection.

Until Wednesday, 25 deaths have been reported while the infection cases have increased more than 2,600 in 12 countries around the world.

Source: Xinhua

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