Berlin: Germany held crisis talks amid
reports that at least 14 people have died and hundreds are ill in an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of bacteria found
on imported cucumbers.
Belgium and Russia banned the import of vegetables from
Spain, believed to be the source of at least some of the
contaminated cucumbers. Madrid shot back saying it would seek
financial compensation from the European Union for lost sales.
More than two weeks after the food poisoning outbreak was
first reported in northern Germany, the number of confirmed
and suspected cases has reached 1,200, according to media
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany`s national
disease institute, said three deaths have been officially
linked to the bacteria, but "in total about a dozen people
have died according to regional authorities".
These authorities later Monday announced two more deaths:
a woman of 50 and a man of 75 -- bringing the toll to at least
The Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention
and Control has described the outbreak of the strain of E.
coli as "one of the largest worldwide and the largest ever
reported in Germany".
Authorities in Germany warned against eating raw vegetables
after traces of the bacteria were found on organic cucumbers
from Spain last week.
But officials said they are unsure what caused the sudden
outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) which can result
in full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a disease
that causes bloody diarrhoea and serious liver damage and