Food borne intoxication in Germany (update)

The large scale outbreak of food borne intoxication (food poisoning) due to a rare strain of the bacteria E.coli has resulted in approximately 1,500 cases detected in eight countries. While Germany has had the largest number of reported cases, Sweden has registered 36 cases (with one death), Denmark 16, France 6, Netherlands 7, United Kingdom 3 and USA 3. A total of 16 people have died, 15 in Germany and 1 in Sweden. All cases outside Germany have been found in travellers who returned from visiting Germany.

Although cucumbers were first suspected as being contaminated with this strain of E.coli, further laboratory testing has identified a different strain of this bacteria. As a result, the source and how the epidemic strain was introduced remains unknown, although raw vegetables such as found in salads remain strong possibilities.

Travellers to northern Germany should be aware of the risk of exposure to this E.coli bacteria and refrain from consuming raw vegetables, especially salads, until the source of this epidemic is identified.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Food and Water Contamination.

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