A state of pandemonium and denial is sweeping across Europe as health officials attempt to isolate a killer strain of drug resistant E. Coli that broke out in North Germany in May.
Now Germany is blaming Spain, and Spain is blaming the Dutch, as cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and aubergines are all under suspicion.
Initial media reports claimed 400 were sickened with E. Coli, but current media reports have downplayed the breakout, claiming between 200-300 are sick which means there are probably thousands that have been stricken.
Der Spiegel reported that in the 2nd week in May three people had died and 400 were seriously ill from a deadly strain of E. coli known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). Laboratory tests confirmed the bacterial strain was partially resistant to antibiotics, and at the time the source of the outbreak was not known.
The ECDC now claims (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) cases linked to the German-epidemic have appeared in Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Luxembourg. Additionally, authorities in the Czech Republic have removed Spanish-grown cucumbers off store shelves over fears they are contaminated.
According to Reuters, experts called the outbreak one of the biggest of its kind worldwide and the largest ever in Germany. The Sweden-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said this outbreak was “one of the largest described of HUS worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany”.
“While HUS (hemolytic-uremic syndrome) cases are usually observed in children under five years of age, in this outbreak 87 percent are adults, with a clear predominance of women (68 percent),” a recent scientific report states.
Germany blames Spanish cucumbers as the source for the deadly E-coli outbreak, which has now reportedly taken the lives of 10 people. But there are also reports that Danish cucumbers are suspected of spreading the E. coli infections.
Press TV claims the reports released by the Hamburg Institute for Hygiene and the Environment (HU) show that the majority of the organic cucumbers from Spain, which accounts for about 40 percent of the cucumbers consumed in Germany, were positive for the infection.
“The HU has clearly identified a cucumber from Spain as a carrier of E-coli,” the German Health Ministry said. However, Spain’s Agriculture Minister has denied this report saying there have been no signs of infection in Spain.
Spain’s health ministry said an EU alert about the outbreak cast suspicion on an unnamed company in the Netherlands, but the Dutch claimed the outbreak had no connection to Dutch growers.
School authorities in the Danish city of Odense said up to 1,500 children may have been exposed to the bacteria after eating cucumbers of Danish origin at a school festival on Friday, the local Fyns Times reported.
Xinhua reported on Sunday that the cucumbers came from a Danish wholesaler which also delivers farm products to a German supplier where vegetables contaminated by the E. coli bacteria have been found earlier this week.
“The Danish cucumbers were mixed in Germany with cucumbers originating in the Netherlands, making it difficult to determine if Danish cucumbers are in fact contaminated”.
Denmark’s National Serum Institute reports nine confirmed cases, with at least another eight people suspected of having the intestinal infection known as VTEC, in Denmark. “Four of the confirmed cases show symptoms of kidney failure which marks an advanced stage of the sickness, the institute said Saturday”.
A recent poll indicates 58% of German citizens are no longer eating any kind of fresh vegetables. Germany is the biggest importer of fresh Italian vegetables threatening the Spanish economy which is already on the brink of collapse.