The E. Coli outbreak in Germany has spread with more people becoming infected. The original blame for the E Coli outbreak was on Spanish cucumbers but a mass destruction of cucumbers has not stopped the spread of the disease.
Scientists have now confirmed that they do not believe the Spanish cucumbers to have been the cause of the outbreak, much to the relief of the Spanish agricultural community, although a lot of damage has already been done.
100 Severe Cases of E. Coli In Germany
There are now 100 patients with E. Coli in Germany who are showing the most severe symptoms. 16 people have died from the disease so far, 1 of them in Sweden after visiting Germany. So far there are around 1600 reported cases of E. Coli, fortunately many people have milder symptoms.
Many Germans are now avoiding locally grown vegetables according to the German newspaper die Welt.
The Robert Koch Institute which is German federal institution responsible for disease control and prevention has also advised not to eat raw vegetables – everything should be cooked.
It is likely that most people will simply stop eating all fruit and vegetables until the cause of the outbreak is found or until there are no new cases of E Coli reported.
Haemolytic-uraemic Syndrome (HUS)
E. Coli infection becomes dangerous when Haemolytic-uraemic Syndrome (HUS) develops. This is a condition which leads to organ failure (kidney failure) and can be fatal. There are now around 380 cases of HUS in Germany.
The main symptoms of HUS are:
- Epileptic fits
- Slurred speech
2 Cases of HUS / E. Coli in the UK
The latest reports indicate 2 UK cases of HUS.
Women Most Affected By The New E Coli Strain
This latest E Coli outbreak differs from previous one in one interesting way – it seems to be targeting women more than men. Usually children are the main victims of E Coli has their weaker immune systems of smaller energy reserves put them at much greater risk. This current strain is attacking women more, much like the swine flu outbreak which seemed to target pregnant women.
It may of course simply be because women in Germany may be more health conscious and there eating the normally healthy salad vegetables which are thought to be the cause of the disease.
This is the not the first time this strain of E. Coli has appeared. In 1994 it spread in the USA and also mostly affected middle-aged women.
At this time (Wednesday 1st June 2011) we still do not know the cause of the E Coli outbreak. Whether it was from the soil, the packaging materials, from a storage facilities or transportation, the cause is simply unknown at the moment.