E. Coli Pathogen Found on Cucumber

E. coli outbreak source could still be cucumber

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) German authorities initially blamed the E. coli outbreak on Spanish cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce, then backtracked. Then they pinpointed sprouts from northern Germany but that also turned out to be a false start.

Even as officials still say sprouts remain the most likely cause of the infection, the search for the source of the E. coli outbreak took an unexpected turn when state authorities in Magdeburg in eastern Germany, far from the center of the outbreak, found traces of the virulent pathogen on discarded cucumber leftovers in the garbage of a family sickened in the outbreak, according to the New York Times.

"Warnings remain in place about eating sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers."

It is unclear how the bacteria got on the cucumber at a home where three had been sickened, one of them with a virulent complication. The cucumber had been sitting in the trash for a week and a half.

Officials said there were elements of doubt over how it was contaminated. Members of the family had no known contact with the heavily infected areas of northern Germany.

More than 26,000 have been infected. Nearly 700 of those that had had fallen ill with a potentially deadly complication that causes kidney failure.

Overall the outbreak has been slowing with fewer being diagnosed with new cases. It is not clear if the E. coli outbreak is waning or whether people are simply heeding advice, and avoiding warnings about eating certain raw vegetables.

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Review Date: 
June 10, 2011
Last Updated:
June 10, 2011