A recent outbreak of a relatively new strain of the E. coli virus is threatening a number of nations in Europe. The food-borne intestinal virus has currently affected around 8 European countries, the hardest hit so far of which is Germany. The severity and the rate that the E. coli outbreak spread throughout Europe have perplexed many experts.
The E. coli virus is a relatively common organism that can be found in the digestive systems of humans and other mammals. But experts say that the one that affected Germany and the other nations is a much more aggressive form called Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli or EHEC that also is resistant to common antibiotics. This strain is known to cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea, stroke and even coma. In Germany, reports say that 16 people have died due to the EHEC infection with many others in serious condition. Over Europe, more than 1,000 people have been known to be infected with around 373 of them considered serious.
It was previously said that the outbreak started from imported cucumbers coming from Spain. But updated reports from Germany admitted that they were not since the cucumbers tested for E. coli were of a different strain of the bacterium. The experts further stated that the primary source of the outbreak remains a mystery for now. But they do add that the probable source may be vegetables since cattle manure generally used as fertilizer to grow them may contain E. coli and may end up in the produce.
According to the World Health Organization, 86 percent of those who got sick of the recent E. coli outbreak were adults, with two-thirds of them women. The agency further said that it was quite unusual that children were not that affected by the said outbreak. Other European countries that reported cases of the EHEC outbreak were Sweden, Denmark, France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.