BERLIN — The E. coli outbreak in Germany has killed 11 people, made more than 300 seriously ill and is spreading to north European countries, according to Reuters.
“We hope the number of cases will go down but we fear that it will worsen,” Oliver Grieve, spokesman for the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, where many of those afflicted are being treated, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
There are 36 cases of suspected E. coli in Sweden, and a small number of cases have been reported in Britain, Denmark, France and the Netherlands — all linked with travel to Germany. The source of the virulent strain of the bacteria is still unknown, but the E. coli pathogen has been identified on cucumbers imported from Spain.
German scientists have identified the pathogen as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a type of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). HUS affects the blood, kidneys and, in severe cases, the nervous system and is particularly serious for children and the elderly.