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Since it has been discovered that Spanish and north German cucumbers have been infected by the dangerous E. Coli strain O104:H4, 14 people in Germany have died while 14 people have been diagnosed in Denmark. Another 17 people are under observation at Danish hospitals while the German authorities fear that over 1400 people could be infected without knowing.
According to the Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, 12 of the German victims so far were women. After having eaten the infected vegetable, people have experienced abnormal diarrhea, often bloody. Patients have since been diagnosed with hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a potentially deadly complication of an E. Coli infection which is characterized by the destruction of red blood cells and severe kidney failure.
The outbreak is believed to have started in Spain where cucumbers from two organic farms have been exported to Denmark and Germany. Local authorities in Hamburg were among the first to isolate the cause of the outbreak. How cucumbers from northern Germany became infected is still unknown but a Danish company is also under suspicion because they are believed to have sold to the restaurant in Germany where a number of the victims ate. According to the Danish authorities, all but one of the Danish victims had been to Germany prior to the outbreak. It is believe that more people around Europe have been affected as well by traveling through Germany at the time of the outbreak.
The Danish authorities have advised people not to buy or eat raw cucumbers from northern Germany or cucumbers, tomatoes and salads from Spain.
The suspicion that a Danish, as well as a Dutch export company has been distributing infected vegetables came from Germany and the result of the analysis will be published later today.