EC Lifts Warning over Spanish Cucumbers

Health | June 2, 2011, Thursday // 09:45|  views

A laboratory worker compares EHEC colonies in petri dishes at the Robert Koch Institute in Wernigerode, Germany. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The European Commission is recommending increased hygiene in order to prevent further spread of the deadly strain of the E.coli bacteria.

The Commission also lifted its warning over the Spanish cucumbers, saying tests "did not confirm the presence of the specific serotype (O104), deemed responsible for the outbreak affecting humans" – a move welcomed by Spain, which threatened to file a suit on behalf of its farmers against German authorities who had alleged a link between Spanish vegetables and the deadly strain of bacteria.

EC notes establishing the source of the infection is a priority with John Dalli, Commissioner on Health and Consumer Policy, saying this would be the only way to undertake the needed measures.

The recommended precautions include washing produce carefully before consumption, along with thorough washing of dishes and frequent washing of hands.

Meanwhile, the spread is expanding with more than 1 500 people in Germany infected by enterohaemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC), which can cause the deadly haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS).

At least 365 new E.coli cases were reported on Wednesday. The new cases include two people in the US, who had recently travelled to Hamburg, where many of the cases are clustered. In addition to Germany, cases of EHEC have also been reported in eight other European countries - Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Seventeen people have died - 16 of them in Germany and one in Sweden.

BBC cites the Head of the German public health body dealing with the deadly E.coli outbreak saying it may be months before it stops.

It was further reported that Russia has banned the import of fresh vegetables from European Union countries. A quarter of all vegetables exported from the EU are sent to Russia.

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Tags: John Dalli, EC, Sweden, Spain, Germany, cucumbers, E Coli, EHEC


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