European health officials have reported on the outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of Escheria coli called enterohemorragic E.coli. So far, this bacterium has claimed the lives of 22 Europeans.
The specific source of what many are calling the “deadliest E. coli outbreak in modern history” has yet to be identified.
About 2,400 people have been infected with enterohemorrhagic E. coli, a majority of them in Germany. Of all of the cases in Germany, 15 people died from Hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a serious complication associated with this strain of the bacterium that can lead to renal failure. Six more people were victims of other complications associated with enterohemorrhagic E. coli.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, infections have also been identified in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Summer is practically here, and with it comes barbecues, parties, travel and other fun activities associated with preparing and cooking various foods. E. coli can contaminate a number of food groups including fruits and vegetables.
Another important source of enterohemorrhagic E. coli is eating undercooked beef and unpasteurized fruit juices. It is crucial that we thoroughly cook our food and wash our hands to protect ourselves from this deadly bacterium.
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