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June 6, 2011

E. coli outbreak in Europe

The source of an E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,200 is still not known. German authorities at first blamed it on cucumbers grown in Spain, causing outrage among Spanish farmers. They are claiming they lost tens of millions of dollars due to a slump in demand. Tests showed that Spanish cucumbers did not contain the dangerous strain. Bean sprouts from a farm in Germany are now being tested, though the first tests did not find the contamination. Cases have shown up in at least 10 countries and have left more than 600 in intensive care.(30 photos total)

A nurse cares for a patient infected with the virulent E. coli bacteria and undergoing dialysis treatment at an intensive care unit of Hamburg's UKE university clinic on June 1, 2011. The number of people sickened by a mysterious killer bacteria grew, two weeks after the outbreak in Germany, while fears over tainted vegetables hit European farmers hard. Scientists and health officials say they have identified the E. coli bacteria responsible for the outbreak, which has mainly affected northern Germany, but are unable to say what caused it or who was responsible. (Angelika Warmuth/AFP/Getty Images)

n undated file picture taken with electronic microscope shows EHEC bacteria (enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli) in Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Brunswick. German health authorities on May 25, 2011, have warned consumers to be careful with raw salad vegetables, especially those originating from northern Germany, after reporting about 140 cases and at least four deaths. (Manfred Rohde/Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung via Reuters) #

A farmer throws out a cucumber crop after it was impossible to sell it in El Ejido, near Almeria in southeastern Spain on June 1, 2011. Spanish farmers say lost sales resulting from the crisis are costing them $285 million a week, and could put 70,000 people out of work in a country which already has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union. (Francisco Bonilla/Reuters) #

Staff members of Berlin's Robert-Koch-Institute wear protective gear as they investigate an organic farm that had been identified as a possible source of the deadly outbreak of E.Coli in the village of Bienenbuettel some 300 km north west of Berlin on June 6, 2011. The source of the killer bacteria remained elusive on June 6 after Germany announced that initial tests on suspected organic sprouts had proved negative and the outbreak's death toll grew to 23. Some 2,000 people have become ill across Europe from the enterohaemorrhagic E. coli outbreak which has affected 12 countries. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images) #

Packages containing sprouts from an organic farm under investigation for being a possible source of the deadly bacterial outbreak of E. coli stand on a laboratory table of the regional office for consumer protection and food safety in Oldenburg, Germany, on June 6, 2011. Initial tests conducted on sprouts from the farm have proved negative. A total of 22 people have died, all but one of them in Germany, and some 2,000 people have become ill across Europe from the enterohaemorrhagic E. coli outbreak which has affected 12 countries. (Ingo Wagner/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesting farmers dump some 700 pounds of fruit and vegetables, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other produce outside the German consulate in Valencia, Spain, on June 2, 2011. Spain says it is not ruling out taking legal action against German authorities for blaming Spanish vegetables for the E.coli outbreak that has killed 16 people. (Robert Solsona/Associated Press) #

artolome Florido, president of the platform in defense of Andalusian products "Yo? Producto Andaluz!" smokes a cigarette during a campaign to promote the consumption of cucumbers in Benalmadena, near Malaga, Spain on June 3, 2011. Germany will consider measures to compensate Spanish farmers for the loss of sales due to their produce being blamed for the outbreak of E.coli in Europe, a statement from Spain's presidential office said on Thursday. Spain is threatening legal action and wants compensation for its farmers, who say lost sales are costing them $290 million a week and could put 70,000 people out of work. The sign reads, "Benalmadena with the Andalusian farmers". (Jon Nazca/Reuters) #

People eat slices of cucumber during a campaign of the platform in defense of Andalusian products "Yo? Producto Andaluz!" to promote the consumption of the fruit in Benalmadena, near Malaga in southern Spain on June 3, 2011. (Jon Nazca/Reuters) #

People sit in a restaurant in front of a sign that reads "For precaution, we don't serve cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce," in Luebeck, Germany, on June 4, 2011. Racing to curb the spread of a killer food bug, Germany set up a task force on Friday to hunt down the source of a highly toxic strain of E.coli that has killed 19 people and sounded alarms around the world. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

German Health Minister Daniel Bahr wears a protective mask as he visits an isolation area of the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg on June 5, 2011. German hospitals are struggling to cope with the flood of E.coli victims, Bahr said on Sunday, as scientists remain puzzled by the deadly bug that has killed 19 and sickened 1,700 people across Europe. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

A nurse assists a man donating blood at a blood drive of the German Red Cross in Berlin on June 6, 2011. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

A farmer destroys salad on a field in Ronneburg near Hanover, Germany, on May 27, 2011, after suspicion raised that vegetables could be contaminated with Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli bacteria. More than 270 people in Germany have fallen seriously ill because of potentially deadly bacteria, which has been found in imported Spanish cucumbers, officials said. The ministry of consumer affairs said a nationwide special warning had been issued, adding that investigations were underway to track the origin of contaminated vegetables which have been ordered withdrawn from the market. (Julian Stratenschulte/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man walks past graffiti on a wall of German multinational supermarket chain Lidl in Roquetas del Mar, Spain, on June 3, 2011. The graffiti reads: "Do not buy here. Boycott Lidl." (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

Karolin Seinsche, an E. coli patient at the Asklepios Hospital Hamburg-Altona, lies in her bed during an interview with the Associated Press in Hamburg, Germany, on June 6, 2011. Doctors at the Asklepios Hospital started to treat their E. coli patients with unorthodox therapies including antibiotics and antibodies, despite warnings by WHO and the German government. (Gero Breloer/Associated Press) #

A farmer walks past cucumber and tomato crops after it was impossible to sell them in El Ejido, near Almeria in southeastern Spain on June 1, 2011. Spanish farmers say lost sales resulting from the crisis could put 70,000 people out of work in a country which already has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba (right) gestures next to Andalusian regional president Jose Antonio Grinan during a news conference regarding the outbreak of cucumbers infected with a form of E.coli bacteria, in Almeria on June 1, 2011. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

A farmer throws out his cucumber crop after it was impossible to sell in El Ejido, near Almeria in southeastern Spain, on May 31, 2011. Spain said on Monday there was no proof that cucumbers from its growers had caused an outbreak of E.coli in Germany that had killed 14 people and that it would be demanding to know why its farmers had been blamed. An E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated cucumbers that has also made more than 300 seriously ill in Germany has spread to other north European countries and is expected to worsen in the coming week. The E. coli pathogen has been identified on cucumbers imported from Spain but it is unclear if they were contaminated there, during transport or in Germany. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

armer Tobias Haack drives a tractor over 100,00 heads of romaine, iceberg, and 10 other types of lettuce in order to mulch them back into the ground at one of his fields on June 4, 2011 near Hamburg, Germany. Vegetable farmers in northern Germany are facing a crisis as public reaction to the current enterohemorrhagic E. coli, also known as the EHEC bacteria, outbreak has brought vegetable sales to a near halt. Haack says he usually sells 1,000 crates of lettuce a day, though currently he is selling about 40. "I hope they don't leave us hanging," he says of the German government, and considers current discussions of low-interest loans to stricken farmers unhelpful. He says if the crisis continues he will face severe financial problems within two to three weeks. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) #

A worker arranges boxes of melons being stored due to stalling orders at a farmers' cooperative in El Ejido, near Almeria in southeastern Spain, on May 31, 2011. Horticultural farms in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia have been losing $10 million to $12 million a day since German authorities linked an E.coli outbreak to contaminated Spanish cucumbers last week. However, Spain said on Monday there was no proof that cucumbers from its growers had caused the outbreak and that it would be demanding to know why its farmers had been blamed. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

A patient suffering from hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a complication that can lead to kidney failure, convulsions and epileptic seizures and caused by enterohemorrhagic E. coli, also known as the EHEC bacteria, lies in a bed in the Nephrology Unit at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf on June 2, 2011, in Hamburg, Germany. German health authorities are continung to grapple with the current outbreak of EHEC and claim that initial suspicions of cucumbers from Spain as being the source are unfounded, though they warn against consuming raw vegetables. The University Medical Center has the highest number of patients infected with EHEC as well as 102 patients who have come down with HUS. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) #

Dr. Stefan Kluge, head of the Intensive Care unit at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, speaks to journalists at a press conference about the EHEC bacteria outbreak on June 2, 2011, in Hamburg. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) #

EHEC bacteria are visible in a photo provided by the Helmholtz Center for Research on Infectious Diseases on May 30, 2011, in Berlin. (Manfred Rohde, Helmholtz-Zentrum fuer Infektionsforschung (HZI)/Getty Images)#

Radish sprouts are pictured in their wrapping on June 6, 2011, in Berlin. German authorities conducted tests on locally grown sprouts suspected of being the source of an E. coli outbreak which has killed 22 and left some 2,000 ill across Europe. Initial tests from a farm producing the sprouts showed contamination by the bacteria. Sprouts cultivated there include those from lettuce, azuki beans, mung beans, fenugreek, alfafa and lentils. Some of the seeds had been imported from abroad. (Johannes Eisele/Getty Images)#

Members of the edia stand in front of shuttered Gaertnerhof Bienenbuettel organic farm on June 6, 2011, in Bienenbuettel, Germany. Health authorities in the German state of Lower Saxony closed the farm the day before on suspicion that the farm's vegetable sprouts might be the source of the current enterohemorrhagic E. coli, also known as the EHEC bacteria in Europe's worst recorded E. coli outbreak ever. (Joern Pollex/Getty Images) #

Cucumbers are spread on a field to be used as fertilizer by French farmers who are unable to sell their produce in Carquefou near Nantes, France, on June 6, 2011. Authorities in Germany have yet to pinpoint the exact source of the three-week outbreak. So far, bean sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce have all been suspected of spreading the EHEC bacteria (enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli) bacteria. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters) #

An employee of Czech center of national reference laboratories prepares samples of vegetables for molecular testing on EHEC bacteria (bacterium Escherichia coli.) in Brno on June 1, 2011. Samples of vegetables imported from various countries are tested for E.Coli at the laboratory. ( David W Cerny/Reuters)#

A farm worker empties cucumbers into a container before dispersing them in a field after failing to sell them due an ongoing food crisis in Europe, in Carquefou, France, on June 6, 2011. The current crisis is the deadliest E. coli outbreak in modern history, and the outbreak is being blamed on a highly aggressive, "super-toxic" strain of E. coli. (Jacques Brinon/Associated Press) #

A laboratory worker looks for strains of E.coli bacteria in vegetable cells placed in a petri dish, in La Mojonera near Almeria in southeastern Spain on June 2, 2011. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #

A man carries cucumbers collected for destruction at a greenhouse compound outside Bucharest, Romania, on June 6, 2011. Producers destroyed thousands of tons of cucumbers over the past two days, according to local media, after their production was either turned back from exports or refused for sale by supermarkets in Romania for fear of E. coli bacteria contamination. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press) #

Dr. Hauke Weilert checks the infusion of an E. coli patient undergoing a kidney dialysis at Asklepios Hospital in Hamburg-Altona, Germany, on June 6, 2011. Doctors at the Asklepios Hospital started to treat their E. coli patients with unorthodox therapies including antibiotics and antibodies, despite warnings by WHO and the German government. (Gero Breloer/Associated Press) #



 
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