German salad warning after food poisoning deaths

May 26, 2011

Germany has warned consumers to be especially careful when eating tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers which are believed to be responsible for an outbreak of food poisoning that has left three dead.

Initial findings by the Robert Koch Institute, the national disease centre, "indicate that the most recent contamination by EHEC (enterohaemorrhagic E. coli) is most probably due to consumption of raw tomatoes, cucumbers and leaf salad," the ministry for consumer protection said late Wednesday.

The agency called on consumers to wash vegetables carefully, especially those originating in northern Germany where most cases of have been reported over the past fortnight.

say some 140 people have become seriously ill with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), caused by EHEC, and at least three have died. There are hundreds of other suspected cases.

The officials say the number of cases is very unusual as there are normally just 1,000 EHEC infections and 60 cases of HUS per year.

Children are normally most at risk, but in the latest outbreak adults, mostly women, have been felled by the disease which can result in , seizures, strokes and coma.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 26, 2011

It appears that the culprit is an O104, non-O157 _E. coli_. This
outbreak once again underscores the relevance of non-O157 strains of
verotoxin-producing _E. coli_. Other _E. coli_ serogroups that have
been associated with VTEC (verotoxin-producing _E. coli_) disease
include motile ones such as O26:H11 and O104:H21 and non-motile ones
such as O111:NM (or H-). Such non-O157 isolates can be obtained from
sheep and cattle and, although they cause as many as 30 percent of
outbreaks of VTEC (1), appear to be somewhat less (or at least more
variably) virulent in a variety of in vivo and in vitro assays (2-4).


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.