Science and Health

Lab tests: Spanish cucumbers not E.coli source

Updated: 2011-06-01 09:39
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BERLIN -- German laboratory tests on Tuesday ruled out Spanish cucumbers as the source for spreading fatal enterohamorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) which has killed at least 16 people within Europe.

Different from previous findings, the newest test did not find the deathful 0104 strain from two samples with EHEC bacteria, which are imported from Spain and sold in a Harmburg market.

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"The sources for the disease are still not clear," said Hamburg's Health Minister Cornelia Pruefer-Storcks after the test results came out.

However, she still warned the public to avoid eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuces until the sources have been identified.

The infection by the 0104 strain of EHEC can cause bloody diarrhea and kidney failure known as hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).

People who are infected have reached more than 1,400 in Germany, while victims suffering HUS are more than 350 right now, which means the death toll will continue increasing in the future, said the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's key disease control and prevention center.

The new finding was welcomed by Spain as blame for Spanish cucumbers causing this disease has brought huge loss for Spanish agriculture and farmers as nearly whole Europe and Russia have banned the import of vegetables and fruits from Spain.