GERMANY continues the fight against a killer outbreak of E.coli that has been traced back to an infected batch of cucumbers. 14 people have died as a result of contracting the bacteria and several European countries have banned the importation of Spanish vegetables. The exact source of the outbreak remains unknown, but after identifying cucumbers from Spain that were carrying the bacteria, infected vegetables are the most likely host, officials said.
Meanwhile, Spanish Agriculture Minister, Rosa Aguilar has gone on national television and eaten Spanish cucumbers in defence of the country’s fresh produce. She reiterated that it is not known exactly when and where the vegetables became infected and said Spain cannot be blamed for the outbreak.
“The image of Spain is being damaged, Spanish producers are being damaged and the Spanish government is not prepared to accept this situation,” she said.
“The damages to the Spanish sector are enormous.”
Ms Aguilar said that Spain would look into claiming damages for losses incurred.
Germany’s Health Minister Daniel Bahr has warned that “the infection source remains active and we have to reckon with a growing number of cases.”
There have been many cases – real or suspected – in other European countries including Denmark, Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, France and Switzerland, all of them apparently stemming from Germany.
A hospital in San Sebastian, northern Spain released a statement this morning saying that a 40-year-old man who recently returned from Germany was in intensive care with a possible E.coli inflection.
The patient was admitted May 20 and then placed in intensive care after his condition deteriorated.