4 in US now linked to German E. coli outbreak

Jun 04, 2011 By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer
4 in US now linked to German E. coli outbreak (AP)
Tomatoes and cucumbers from Holland are displayed for sale at a market in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 3, 2011. Nearly 200 new cases of E. coli infection were reported in Germany in the first two days of June, the national disease control center reported Friday, but officials say there are signs the European bacterial outbreak that has killed 18 people could be slowing. While suspicion has fallen on raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce as the source of the germ, researchers have been unable to pinpoint the food responsible. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

(AP) -- Four people in the U.S. were apparently sickened by the food poisoning outbreak in Europe, health officials said Friday. Three are hospitalized with a serious complication.

All four were in northern Germany in May. Though they didn't stay at the same hotel or eat at the same restaurants, officials are confident that they were infected with E. coli in that country.

Three of them - two women and a man - are hospitalized with kidney failure, a complication of E. coli that has become a hallmark of the outbreak. One of the four fell ill while on a plane to the U.S.

Two other cases are being investigated in U.S. service members in Germany, said Dr. Chris Braden, of the .

The source of the outbreak hasn't been pinpointed but the focus has been on fresh tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. More than 1,800 people have fallen ill, nearly all in Germany.

In a teleconference Friday with reporters, a official said produce in the U.S. remains safe. The government has stepped up testing of food from Germany and Spain, but very little is imported from those countries or the rest of Europe.

The United States has "one of the safest food supplies in the world," said Don Kraemer, deputy director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Few details about the four ill people in the U.S. have been released. It's not known if they are U.S. residents or visitors. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker said Friday that one of the four - an adult who traveled from Germany - was in an area hospital.

Health officials have been reluctant to discuss the cases because of patient confidentiality. "We don't want there to be an overreaction, or people to feel stigmatized because they just happened to get back from Germany," said Dr. Robert Tauxe, a CDC foodborne disease expert.

The risk of the four cases triggering outbreaks in the U.S. is considered very small, he added.

"We don't think it spreads from one person to another rapidly" and will not move through the population like the flu, he said.

The CDC sent a notice to U.S. doctors Friday, advising them to be on the alert for cases.

As the investigation into the E. coli strain from the outbreak continues, CDC officials say they have never seen the strain here but are aware of at least two previous reports of a similar strain elsewhere. One was a 29-year-old woman in South Korea, reported in 2006. The other was a small cluster of cases in the Republic of Georgia in 2009.

---

Online:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli

.

Explore further: Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

3 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Germany: 365 more sickened in bacterial outbreak

Jun 01, 2011

(AP) -- The number of people reported sick in Germany from a foodborne bacterial outbreak that has already killed 16 spiked over the last 24 hours, with nearly 100 more people suffering from severe and potentially ...

Smoking gun elusive in deadly E. coli outbreak

Jun 01, 2011

(AP) -- European health officials tracking one of the worst E. coli outbreaks on record might never know where it came from. It's a sad fact of life in food poisoning cases: There often is no smoking gun.

More sick, dead, in European E. coli outbreak

May 31, 2011

(AP) -- Two new deaths linked to a mysterious bacterial outbreak in Europe blamed on tainted vegetables were reported Tuesday, including the first outside Germany, as the number of people falling ill continued ...

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. ...

European food outbreak soars; mystery deepens

Jun 01, 2011

(AP) -- The number of people hit by a massive European outbreak of foodborne bacterial infections is a third bigger than previously known and a stunningly high number of patients suffer from a potentially ...

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

10 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

10 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

13 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

14 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments : 0

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.