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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Spanish organic cucumber E. coli O104:H4 outbreak by the numbers – 600 ill, 214 with HUS and 5 deaths

image-218030-thumb-cikl.jpgGerman officials suspect cucumbers from Spain are the source of a massive enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) outbreak that has hit the northern parts of the country. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), so far 214 patients have developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly complication of an EHEC infection, characterized by a destruction of red blood cells and severe kidney problems. There are reports that as many as five have died to date.

Local authorities in Hamburg announced today that they had isolated the bacterium that is likely causing the outbreak, E. coli O104:H4 , from four cucumbers. Three of the samples came from a big market in Hamburg that sells to greengrocer’s shops as well as restaurants and caterers. Those cucumbers came from two organic producers in Spain.

  • doc raymond

    I think the HUS rate for E coli O157:H7 is aabout 4%. Looks like this bug has a rate of HUS pushing 33%. So much for the crowd that says non-O157 STECs are not as virulent as O157.

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    The hospitals in Germany must look like a war zone. Do they even have enough dialysis machines to treat this many people with HUS? It is still amazing to me the damage cow shit can do to the human body. It is so sad to say, but there will be more deaths. I think this outbreak might top the numbers in Jack-in-the-Box.

  • Minkpuppy

    This bug is pretty nasty-looking. I hope FDA and USDA take heed on this outbreak. We don’t need this happening in the U.S. but it will if FSIS continues focusing on nitpicking hazard analyses instead of actually evaluating the effectiveness of the interventions being used to reduce the pathogens.

  • Simone

    I live in Cherbourg, Normandy, France and normally I buy and eat a lot of organic cucumbers often bought at CARREFOUR – a large supermarket here. I haven’t been able to learn online….can anybody tell me if these cucumbers I have at home from Carrefour are safe to eat? I.e – Where do Carrefour organic cucumbers come from? Nothing on the cucumbers’s plastic wrappers. I ate one yesterday before hearing the news. Still feel okay. How long after consumption does it take for symptoms to appear? THANKS!

  • I would contact Carrefour to see where they sourced the cucumbers you bought. Incubation time between ingestion and illness is 2-7 days, most 3-4 days.

  • Jeremy Ricketts

    If contaminated water is responsible for the Spanish organic cucumbers causing E coli, should we not review role of using contaminated water in all food production?

  • Dog Doctor

    Contaminated water is often an issue with produce outbreaks. There is no international standard for agriculture water used in irrigation or chemical application or processing. FDA and the EU both have Good Agriculture Practices but neither is required and they have guidelines for agriculture water but not requirements

  • Dude

    It is rare that there are zero cases in Spain, and never occur before. The cases occur in Hamburg, and all cases in Germany, and other europeans was infected after visited Germany.

  • AGM

    There are 300.000 deaths per year in the Earth.
    Wake up! Rise up before is too late!

  • Cristina

    While preliminary tests showed disease-causing enterohemorrhagic E.coli in Spanish cucumbers, tests showed that patients had a different strain of the bacteria, Hamburg officials said today.
    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/05/31/bloomberg1376-LM21SG0YHQ0X01-4OF3NHN0MS9DCFTALQQLJAF2GG.DTL#ixzz1Ny03zIh4

  • Thanks – pretty confusing outbreak.

  • Lulú

    A fanny game about the spanish cucumber :D
    http://www.mochigames.com/games/revenge-of-the-spanish-cucumber/