Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

German E. coli O104:H4 Update – 276 with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

The Robert Koch Institute said more than 60 new cases of Hemolytic Uremic syndrome (HUS) had been reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 276. Over 600 have been sickened and there have been as many as five deaths. E. coli O104:H4 illnesses have also been reported in Britain, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands in people who recently visited Germany.

German authorities have identified organic cucumbers from Spain as a source of the E. coli O104:H4. However, Spanish authorities are disputing that the contamination occurred in Spain. Interestingly, German officials continue to advise consumers not to eat raw cucumbers from Spain or tomatoes and lettuces from northern Germany.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a severe, life-threatening complication of an E. coli bacterial infection that was first described in 1955, and is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in childhood. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases of HUS that develop in North America. In fact, some researchers now believe that E. coli O157:H7 is the only cause of HUS in children. HUS develops when the toxin from E. coli bacteria, known as Shiga-like toxin (SLT), enters cells lining the large intestine. The Shiga-toxin triggers a complex cascade of changes in the blood. Cellular debris accumulates within the body’s tiny blood vessels and there is a disruption of the inherent clot-breaking mechanisms. The formation of micro-clots in the blood vessel-rich kidneys leads to impaired kidney function and can cause damage to other major organs.

For more on Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

  • Carol Buente

    Why isn’t there more media coverage in these food related illnesses?? I would think it would help USA operations to wake up and truly realize how sick someone get and DIE..
    I’m sure those greedy businesses would fuss and think of the $$ involved, why aren’t the lives of people more important thana the almighty dollar.?
    Keep up the good reporting. I repost on facebook so more friends can read your articles.

  • Helen Marsh

    I’d be looking at water sources in Hamburg – trust the main stream to blame organic sources. This contamination was on Tomatoes and Lettuce as well as cucumbers – all normally washed and eaten raw. Look at the water – do they wash these things at that big Hamburg Market?

  • Helen Marsh

    This happened in Korea – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16807997 – maybe there is a Korean spreading the disease in the Hamburg Market?

  • Kaarin

    Would be good to update this page in line with current information!