Top Bulgarian Epidemiologist Advises to Wash, Peel ProduceHealth | June 3, 2011, Friday // 10:23| views
Doctors are recommending increased hygiene in order to prevent further spread of the deadly strain of the E.coli bacteria. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
Top Bulgarian epidemiologist, Dr. Angel Kunchev, advises everyone to wash very well and peel produce before consumption.
Kunchev spoke Friday morning in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, saying the chance for the strain of the E.coli bacteria (EHEC), which can cause the deadly haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS), to reach Bulgaria is very slim.
"However, the summer tourist season is beginning and we cannot entirely dismiss the possibility that someone carrying the syndrome could arrive in Bulgaria," Kunchev said.
The epidemiologist explained the contagion cannot be spread through sneezing and coughing, only through closer contact and swallowing, adding the bacteria is on the surface of the produce and for this reason peeling is recommended.
Kunchev says it is still unclear if other types of food can be contaminated as well.
According to the Doctor, 70% of those infected are women, meaning the female organism is more susceptible to the bacteria. The incubation period is 3 to 10 days and symptoms appear in 3 – 4 days. It is important to take plenty of liquids, Kunchev advises.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the strain is new and yet unknown, but the initial hypothesis is that it mutated from two other deadly strains of the bacteria.
On Thursday, the European Commission lifted its warning over 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.
The number of victims now stands at 18 in Europe – 17 in Germany and 1 in Sweden.
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