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Euro Outbreak Numbers Continue To Climb

Five more E. coli O104:H4 infections have been confirmed within the cluster of Bordeaux patients who ate sprouts at an event in early June, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported Monday.

The University of Minnesota-based Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) said the additional cases were added by public health officials in France.

According to CIDRAP, three of the five patients had attended the event in B├Ęgles. One of them has hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal kidney complication. The other two patients, one of whom has HUS, were infected by others who were sick, the ECDC said. The newly reported infections raise the Bordeaux E. coli O104:H4 cluster to 11 cases, including 8 people with HUS.

Meanwhile,  the United Kingdom confirmed another infection, in a visitor from Germany who had traveled from Hamburg. The UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said in a July 7 statement that one of the patients it had earlier linked to the outbreak was found to have a different illness, and the case has been deleted from its total, which the HPA said now stands at 17, including three with HUS. All of the cases have been microbiologically confirmed, and all are related to German travel.

Germany reported 18 more E. coli O104:H4 infections, including five with HUS, according to the ECDC’s update. The new cases from France, the United Kingdom, and Germany push Europe’s outbreak total to 3,798, including 757 with HUS. No new deaths were reported, keeping the fatality level at 44.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports slightly different numbers. In total, it says 16 countries in Europe and North America have reported 3,941 cases of E. coli O104:H4 infection, including 52 fatalities.

Germany extended a ban on fenugreek products to herbal remedies that contain ground fenugreek seeds.The country’s Federal Drugs Institute recalled specific production lots of powdered fenugreek seeds because they are in the lots from Egypt that officials suspect may be contaminated by E. coli, based on product trace-forward investigations. The fenugreek powder is used as a treatment for ulcers and other digestive problems, according to the report.

Egypt’s agricultural minister has denied that his country’s fenugreek production is responsible for the European outbreak.

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