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Nearly 4,180 Sickened in E. coli O104:H4 Outbreak

Food Safety News

by Mary Rothschild | Jul 05, 2011

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported Monday that the European toll in the outbreak of E. coli O104:H4 in Germany and France linked to sprouts had risen to 4,173 illnesses and 49 deaths.

Those numbers include 892 hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) cases, according to ECDC.

A single lot of fenugreek seeds -- lot number 48088 -- from an Egyptian exporter appears to be the common link between the German and French outbreaks, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported Tuesday, even though microbiological tests carried out on the seeds have thus far been negative.

Still, those test results "cannot be interpreted as proof that a batch is not contaminated" with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, the EFSA report stated. Given that other lots may be implicated, and because exposure to a small quantity of the seeds can have a "severe health impact," the food-safety authority is recommending that all lots of fenugreek from the identified (but unnamed) exporter should be considered suspect.

Since its last July 1 update, the health authority said Germany had reported no additional cases of HUS, but 48 additional non-HUS E. coli infections.

Continue reading, "Nearly 4,180 Sickened in E. coli O104:H4 Outbreak" at Food Safety News.

More on this outbreak: European E. coli O104 (EHEC) Outbreak Linked to Sprouts

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