The World Health Organization on May 27, 2011 issued a statement on the story of the Haemolytic and Uricemic Syndrome (abbreviated with the acronym HUS or SEU) which broke out in Germany due (it seems) to a contamination of Escherichia coli O 104 present in vegetables and fruit and vegetables from Spain.
Ilfattoalimentare.it has already dealt with the case yesterday but there are some important news.
The Spanish health authorities reject the accusations ( in Spain there are no cases of hospitalization for HUS) , they have prudently closed two farms near Malaga and Almeria.
The latest official news speaks of 9 victims among the approximately one thousand people affected by the syndrome, caused by this species of Escherichia coli that produces toxins capable of overcoming the gastric barrier and attacking the kidneys causing kidney failure.
The problem seems to have overcome national barriers as Sweden reports 9 cases of HUS, Denmark 4, while Belgium and England 1. The curious aspect is that many of these people have recently been to Germany.
According to an article published in Eurosurveillance on May 26, 2011 (Large and ongoing outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome), the number of suspected cases of HUS is 214 (119 of which from the north of the country).
The European rapid alert system (Rasff) on May 27th issued an alert online indicating cucumbers from Spain as the cause. The report sent by the German health authorities also indicates Denmark as a country involved in the affair. This means that Denmark’s involvement is now well established.
The anomaly is that the disease usually affects children, while in this case 86% of hospitalizations concern adults. The other alarming element is that HUS records a few cases each year, while now the number has grown exponentially in a few days. The suspicions of the German health authorities are focused on cucumbers, tomatoes and salads from Spain even if the authorities advise some caution on fruit and vegetables in general.
Germany has informed the World Health Organization of the problem as required by the International Health Regulations (IHR).