German E. coli O104 update: 14 dead, 352 HUS, 1200 sick
Posted: May 30th, 2011 - 5:54pm by Doug Powell
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a risk assessment today that the HUS/STEC E. coli O104 outbreak is the largest in the world of its kind, with 14 dead, 352 with hemolytic uremic syndrome and over 1,200 sick.
German Health Minister Daniel Bahr said Monday that authorities still haven't pinned down definitively the source of the E. coli infection — and "we unfortunately still have to expect a rising number of cases."
An EU official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to standing regulations, said the transport chain was long, and the cucumbers from Spain could have been contaminated at any point along the route.
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," Spain's Secretary of State for European Affairs, Diego 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."
EU spokesman Frederic Vincent said Sunday that two greenhouses in Spain that were identified as the source of the contaminated cucumbers had ceased activities. The water and soil there are being analyzed to see whether they were the problem, and the results are expected Tuesday or Wednesday, Vincent said.