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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

E. coli O104:H4 – As many as 48 Deaths, nearly 4,000 Ill, nearly 900 Seriously

According to EU Food Safety Authorities, 878 HUS cases, including 31 deaths, and 3,039 non-HUS cases, including 16 deaths have so far been reported in Europe. The table below shows the distribution of reported cases per country. Germany reports seven additional HUS cases and one new HUS death since the last update, as well as 77 non-HUS STEC cases and two non-HUS deaths. Denmark reports one new non-HUS STEC case. The latest known date of onset of diarrhea for cases is June 22.

On Friday June 24, France reported a cluster of eight patients with bloody diarrhea, after having participated in an event in the commune of Bègles around Bordeaux on June 8. Of these, seven have developed HUS, a severe complication of E. coli infection. Six of the patients are women between 31-78 years of age, and two are men, aged 34 and 41 years. The date of onset of disease for the eight patients was between June 15-21. In three of the patients, infection with E. coli O104:H4 has been confirmed.  The French authorities are investigating this new cluster of STEC. Six of the cases reported having eaten sprouts at the event on 8 June, and leftovers are currently being analyzed. These suspected sprouts were locally produced, and were not imported from the farm implicated in the outbreak in Germany.  Thorough investigations are now being carried out to determine the suspected vehicle of infection for the cases reported in the French cluster, and whether there is any link between that cluster and the large outbreak reported from Germany.

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So far, there have been five confirmed cases (Three with HUS) in the United States connected to the outbreak. Those cases are in Michigan, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and North Carolina. There is also a possible Arizona death linked to the outbreak.