European E coli outbreak claims further victims

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 07 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3610
  1. Rory Watson and Annette Tuffs
  1. 1Brussels and Heidelberg

As the BMJ went to press on Tuesday, European public health authorities were still trying to determine the source of the Escherichia coli outbreak, which has killed 23 people, made hundreds sick, and damaged the livelihoods of thousands of vegetable producers.

Most cases have a link with northern Germany—Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, North-Rhine-Westphalia, and Hamburg—with the latter considered to be the epicentre. Initial suggestions that imported Spanish cucumbers were the cause were found to be incorrect. As we go to press, a second theory linking the outbreak to a beansprout farm in the area is also looking unlikely after no trace of the bacteria was found in 23 out of 40 samples.

The …

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