The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been handing out the warnings lately. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that what’s been happening across northern Europe is actually becoming quite a dangerous problem. It’s reported that the E-coli bacteria responsible for the deaths of 18 people so far is from a strain “never seen before” in an outbreak.
More than 1 500 people in northern Europe have been effected by this thus far, including 470 who have developed a rare kidney failure complication as a result.
It has emerged in reports that preliminary tests have shown that the bacteria is a mutant form of two different types of E-coli and their genes are said to be aggressive in nature.
The World Health Organisation’s Hilde Kruse explained to the Associated Press agency that:
This is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before.
[Its] various characteristics make it more virulent and toxin-producing than the hundreds of E-coli strains that people naturally carry in their intestines.
Hilde and her legion of experts are not the only ones following the catastrophic outbreak. Chinese scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute called it “highly infectious and toxic” in a report.
The Chinese scientists also warned that the bacteria carry genes that make it resistant to some classes of antibiotics.
In reaction to this information, Russia has threatened to ban imports of vegetables from European Union nations; a move that has left the 27-member bloc a little upset obviously, and will see a formal request lodged for further clarification on the ban.
The United Arab Emirates has also issued a temporary ban on cucumbers from Spain, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Some cases have seen full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) develop in the patients, a disease that can cause serious liver damage, and others have suffered bloody diarrhoea.
It’s still unclear where or how the outbreak has occurred but it has currently hit at least nine European countries.
To avoid foodborne illnesses, WHO recommends people wash their hands before eating or cooking food, separating raw and cooked meat from other foods, thoroughly cooking food, and washing fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw.
Britain’s Health Protection Agency also urged people travelling to Germany to avoid eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy salad.
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