Swedes infected with Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) from Spanish cucumber, Denmark withdraw similar produces from their stores


Friday, 27 May 2011
Some 25 Swedes have been infected with Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli or EHEC which started in Germany. Of the Swedes affected, a dozen of them are seriously ill. Behind the outbreak stands cucumbers imported from Spain, but nothing on the products indicate that they are directly  imported to Sweden.

According to radio Denmark, two Danish firms located in Grinnell and Kolind had ordered Spanish cucumbers. A batch of the cucumber is infected with the E. coli bacterial type that is currently raging in northern Germany and also has infected more consumers from Denmark.

The hardest EHEC diseases have led to most serious complication of haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which may cause damage to blood vessels and kidneys. At lunchtime on Friday, a total of 25 lettuce suspected cases was reported, but the Swedish authorities expects more people to suffer.
“More case is now coming in and the figure changes as you go. The infection is spreading throughout the country, "said epidemiologist Sofie Ivarsson.
The Swedes who are infected are reported to have collected the disease from visits to northern Germany.

The outbreak started in late April and a significant number of people who fell ill with HUS in Germany have now risen to 276, of who two have died. German authorities have traced the source of infection to two cucumber producers in southern Spain, one of which grows organic cucumbers. Spain and Germany are now trying to determine exactly how the cucumbers are infected by the intestinal bacteria.

There is no indication as how the cucumbers found themselves in Sweden. It is known that vegetables can find its way into the country through other channels. This has prompted Swedish importers to verify that they had not received deliveries of EHEC-infected cucumber.

The large super market chains say they have not found infected cucumber in their chains - the large supermarket chains ICA, Coop and Axfood on Friday stated that none of them have identified EHEC-infected cucumbers in their vegetable counters.

According to Ingmar Kroon, head of Axfood, they sell Spanish organic cucumber in Hemk�p and Price Extra, but they do not source them from the actual producer.

In Germany, people are being advised to completely avoid eating cucumber, tomato and lettuce. Now in Sweden, its food safety authority is also calling on Swedes who visit the country, especially the north, to follow closely the German food safety advice.

“If you've been in northern Germany and become ill, please contact the health services. Then it is important to mention that you have lived in an area where there has been an EHEC outbreak, "said Alexander Sobestiansky.

Swedish food safety authority says the critically ill Swedes have been found to possess same unusual type of EHEC, serotype O104, which occurred in the German outbreak. Authorities say that some of the cucumbers are already withdrawn from consumers and feel that there might be a chance that the damage would spread when pulled back occur so fast.

In Denmark, the food authority there is also taking steps to control the situation with the slogan that consumers should avoid eating raw cucumber from Spain as well as tomato and lettuce from northern Germany. It is not enough to wash the vegetables according to the Danish food authority.

Two Spanish producers have been identified as the suppliers of the infected cucumbers to Denmark and Germany: Pepino Bio Frunet in Malaga and Hort o fruticola in Roquetas de Mar, Almer�a, according to reports in Denmark
By Team

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