Veronika Oleksyn of the Associated Press reports from Germany that the E. coli O104 outbreak has taken its 11th victim. This time a 91-year-old woman (nine of ten deaths are women) from Germany. The number of people contaminated or suspected of having been poisoned has reached 1,200, according to other media reports. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s national disease institute, reported 329 HUS cases in Germany alone. Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands also have reported illness in people who recently visited Germany.
Spanish vegetables, specifically cucumbers, have been suspected as the cause of the outbreak. German officials said even though they know that Spanish cucumbers tainted with E. coli O104 have carried the bacteria, they still have not been able to determine the exact source. “We have found the so-called EHEC pathogens (E. coli O104) on cucumbers, but that does not mean that they are responsible for the whole outbreak,” Andreas Hensel, president of Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, said on ZDF television.
Spain, meanwhile, went on the defensive, saying there was no proof that the E. coli outbreak has been caused by Spanish vegetables. “You can’t attribute the origin of this sickness to Spain,” Lopez Garrido told reporters in Brussels. “There is no proof and that’s why we are going to demand accountability from those who have blamed Spain for this matter.”
Let the finger pointing begin as people struggle for their lives and bury the dead.