U.S. German E.
June 4, 2011 by USA Post
The four were in northern Germany in May. Although he did not stay in the same hotel or eat at the same restaurants, officials are confident that they were infected with E. coli in that country.
Three of them – two women and one man – were hospitalized with renal failure, a complication of E. coli that has become a hallmark of the outbreak. One of the four got sick on the plane to the U.S.
Two other cases are being investigated in the U.S. service members in Germany, said Dr. Chris Braden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The source of the outbreak has not been clearly established, but the focus has been on tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. More than 1,800 people have fallen ill, mostly in Germany.
In a teleconference with reporters on Friday, an official of the Food and Drug Administration said that the U.S. produce remains secure. The government has stepped up testing of food from Germany and Spain, but very little is imported from the countries or the rest of Europe.
The United States has “one of the safest food sources of the world,” said Don Kraemer, deputy director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Few details about the four sick people in the U.S. have been released. It is not known whether they are U.S. residents or visitors. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker said Friday that one of the four – an adult who traveled from Germany – was in an area hospital.
Health officials have been reluctant to talk about the cases because of patient confidentiality. “We do not want to overreact, or people who feel stigmatized because they just happened to return from Germany,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe, a foodborne disease expert at the CDC.
The risk of the four cases trigger outbreaks in the U.S. is considered very small, he added.
“I do not spread from one person to another quickly” and will not move through the population like the flu, he said.
The CDC sent a warning to U.S. doctors Friday, advising them to be aware of the cases.
As the investigation of the strain of E. coli of the epidemic continues, CDC officials say they have never seen the tension here, but they are aware of at least two previous reports of a similar strain elsewhere. One was a woman of 29 years in South Korea, reported in 2006. The other was a small group of cases in the Republic of Georgia in 2009.
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