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German scare over contaminated cucumbers

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CNTV, June 1, 2011
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At least nine people have died in Germany and almost 300 have been sickened by the hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. As officials investigate the source of the bacteria, worries over contaminated cucumbers are spreading to neighboring countries.

Government officials said on Sunday that two more people died of a bacterial outbreak allegedly caused by contaminated Spanish cucumbers. Shoppers at a local market expressed their worries.

German Shopper said, "I am definitely concerned. I won't eat raw vegetables any more, but I still eat produce which has been steamed or boiled. Also, I take a second look now when shopping for vegetables."

HUS is a rare complication arising from an infection associated with E. coli, a bacterium found in undercooked beef or contaminated food.

German officials have said they found three cucumbers from Spain contaminated with the bacterium. They are currently investigating whether the cucumbers were contaminated with E. coli before or after they left southern Spain.

Dr. Lothar Beutin, Microbiologist, said, "As of now, hundreds of labs are trying to identify where the bacteria are from and what vegetables are affected. I hope that we will find out in the next couple of days."

A spokesman for the European Union said that two greenhouses in Spain that were identified as the source of the contaminated cucumbers had ceased operations.

Its water sources and soil are also being analyzed.

Thw outbreak has affected primarily the Hamburg area of Germany and to a lesser extent, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

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