Killer Cucumbers, E.coli Attacks In Europe

While the headline might seem more like the title of a bad 1950′s horror movie, the people who have been stricken by the potentially fatal strain of e. coli bacteria that has been found in European cucumbers aren’t laughing. Sky News is reporting that at least nine people have died in Germany, and almost 300 sent to the hospital suffering from the dangerous strain of e. coli.

There have also been reports of people getting sick with the same strain in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Investigators have traced the cucumbers containing the bacteria to shipments of organically grown cucumbers from Spain. According to some scientists, the growing popularity of organically grown fruits and vegetables can lead to an increase of pathogens that are found in them.

In addition to the cases in Mainland Europe, three German nationals in the U.K. have gotten sick, with at least one of the cases being confirmed by the British Health protection Authority as carrying the deadly bacteria, and that person is suspected of being the source for the other two, although it isn’t certain whether it was passed along in the vegetables or as a secondary infection.

The frightening aspect of this outbreak is the fact that once a person becomes infected by the raw produce, in this case cucumbers, they become infectious to others by way of secondary infections. Hence, one person who gets sick from eating a tainted cucumber can make his or her whole family sick just be being around them.

Dr Dilys Morgan, head of the gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic infections department at the HPA, said: “We are keeping a close watch for potential cases reported in England and are working with colleagues in the devolved administrations to recommend they do the same. In addition we are in the process of alerting health professionals to the situation and advising them to urgently investigate potential cases with a travel history to Germany.

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