European E Coli Death Toll Rises, Cause A Mystery

June 1, 2011

The European e coli outbreak has now claimed 17 lives. There are wide reports of kidney failure in those infected. More than 1,500 people across Europe have been infected, although all of them live in or have recently visited Germany. 

The cause of the e coli outbreak is still unknown. Early on, German officials thought they had traced the contamination to cucumbers from Spain. But Spanish officials deny the change, saying there is no evidence the outbreak started in Spain and even threatening to sue over the accusation. Spanish officials said the allegations have damaged Spain's business and reputation. 

Officials might never know the origin of the outbreak but are concerned this particularly lethal strain of e coli is something they haven't dealt with before. 

"This particular strain we're dealing with now seems to be unique," said Dr. Hilde Kruse, program manager for food safety at WHO Europe, according to an AP report.


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