August 23, 2017

Infected cucumbers – 10 dead, hundreds sick

It looks harmless enough but apparently not. It is times like this I am glad I don't like cucumber.

An oubreak of E.coli in Germany caused by infected cucumbers has killed at least 10 people with hundreds falling ill.

The cucumbers, imported from Spain, were infected with a severe complication of E.coli called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).

Most of the E.coli cases so far have been in the area around Hamburg. This aggressive form of E.coli is known to cause kidney failure and affect the central nervous system.

The Sweden-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said this outbreak was “one of the largest described of HUS worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany”.

It said: “While HUS cases are usually observed in children under five years of age, in this outbreak 87% are adults, with a clear predominance of women (68%).”

Spain has announced restrictions on two suspected exporters, but it is unclear whether the cucumbers were infected at source or in transit.

HUS cases have also been reported in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK – linked to German travel.

The attack of the killer cucumbers sounds more like a 1950’s B-Grade sci-fi movie, but this is a real tragedy. We don’t expect this level of violence from a humble vegetable.