Skip to comments.Alarm spreads as E. coli cases rise sharply [In Germany]
Posted on 06/01/2011 11:31:33 AM PDT by GonzoII
The number of E. coli cases has risen dramatically in northern Germany, authorities announced Wednesday, with at least 180 new cases emerging in the past 24 hours in Hamburg and Lower Saxony alone.
The new figures came as doctors in Schleswig-Holstein reported that the bacterial illness was also causing unusual neurological effects including epilepsy.
Seventeen people one in Sweden and the rest in Germany have now died from the virulent form of enterohamorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), which can cause bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure known as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).
In the past day, the number of cases rose in Lower Saxony by 80 to 344, while in Hamburg another 99 cases were identified, bringing the total in the port city to 668.
We are again seeing a clear rise in cases of people sick with EHEC and HUS, Hamburgs Health Minister Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks said. The situation remains worrying and it is definitely too early to give any kind of all-clear.
An 84-year-old woman who died on Sunday has now been identified as the 17th confirmed victim, the Lower Saxony Health Ministry announced Wednesday.
Authorities continued desperately to search for the source of the bacteria as Spain vented its anger over the earlier statements by Hamburg authorities that they had identified Spanish cucumbers as contaminated a claim they have since retracted.
Spain said it was considering legal action over what it says are 200 million in losses for its farmers.
The official number of confirmed cases according to the Robert Koch Institute, the governments public health adviser, stands at 1,064. Of these, 470 have become ill with HUS. All states are affected by three quarters of the HUS have been across northern states: Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.
A worrying new dimension has been reported in Schleswig-Holstein the worst-affected state with 121 cases. Every second patient being treated for HUS at the states University Hospital is developing unusual neurological complications, ranging from headaches to speech problems and up to epilepsy.
We are observing unexpected characteristics to the illness with which were not familiar, said Hendrik Lehnert, director of the hospitals Lübeck campus.
Some 91 patients are currently being treated for HUS at Lübeck and the hospitals other campus in Kiel, 23 of them in intensive care. The neurological problems were starting about three or four days after the HUS symptoms began.
The hospitals doctors have changed tactics and begun using antibiotics earlier than they were before, said director Stefan Schreiber.
We have learnt something, he said, referring to knowledge gained from an autopsy on a patient who died, which revealed that the bacteria inflamed nearly the whole stomach and intestinal tract. The bacteria live much longer that we previously thought.
I have to wonder whether this is an act of biological warfare.
Perhaps if they cooked their food ....
May have a point there..see how easy it is?
I hate to say it but this is the most likely scenario. Outbreaks like this are extremely rare, especially with “fresh” produce.
It is. I have several feet of missing intestines from E.coli poisoning. Mangoes, imported from Chile.
Sure is a possibility. Contaminate the water systems and it is harder to isolate the vector.
Perhaps someone knows what part of the world this particular strain hails from?
Bring Out Your Dead
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Almost sounds like anthax....Are they sure??
It can but it rarely happens like this. These numbers are crazy.
I was thinking the same thing.
"Dr Robert Tauxe, a foodbourne disease expert at the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said the outbreak was like nothing he had seen before.
"There has not been such an outbreak before that we know of in the history of public health," he said.
"It's extraordinary to see so many cases of the kidney complication from a foodbourne illness."
Hmm. I wonder how long stuff has to be cooked or to what temperature to kill e.coli in general or this type, since it sounds really different from the regular e.coli.
I got a strange food borne illness once and since then I eat only what I cook myself. It was that horrible.
I was just reading that this is a unknown unique strain.
European food outbreak soars; mystery deepens Medical authorities appeared no closer to discovering either the source of the infection or the mystery at the heart of the outbreak: why the unusual strain of the E. coli bacteria appears to be causing so many cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, which attacks the kidneys and can cause seizures, strokes and comas.
"This particular strain we're dealing with now seems to be unique," said Dr. Hilde Kruse, program manager for food safety at WHO Europe:
Germany's national health agency said 1,534 people in the country had been infected by EHEC, a particularly deadly strain of the common bacteria found in the digestive systems of cows, humans and other mammals. The Robert Koch Institute had reported 1,169 a day earlier.