Germany people have been warned not to eat cucumbers until tests identify the source of a deadly escherichia coli (E.coli) outbreak that has killed 11 and spread across Europe.
The ongoing bacterial outbreak has been identified as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), caused by a malicious and contagious strain of E.coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC). Infection often leads to hemorrhagic diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure, especially in young children and elderly persons.
The epidemic is one of the largest outbreaks of HUS in the history of Europe and the largest ever reported in Germany. The use of antibiotics cannot treat or help the kidney in this case. HUS is a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment.
Germany has registered 1,200 confirmed or suspected cases in the E.coli outbreak so far. Authorities in the Czech Republic, Austria and France have taken some Spanish-grown cucumbers off shop shelves amid contamination fears, BBC News reported.
In many of the reported cases by BBC News, the gastrointestinal infection has led to hemolytic-uremic Syndrome (HUS), which causes kidney problems and is potentially fatal.
The outbreak started with the shipment of Spanish cucumbers from farms in Malaga and Almeria, which may have been the main cause according to German health chiefs. No official evidence has linked Spain to the outbreak.
As the E.coli outbreak spreads through organic cucumbers imported from Spain, statistics shows that women are the worst affected. Scientists attribute the healthier eating habits of women as a reason for this unusual trend.
Diseases spread through raw food and undercooked food are more likely to affect women, since they tend to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Health officials in the affected areas of Europe have requested the public to refrain from consuming cucumber, tomato and lettuce until the origin and carrier of the malicious E.coli is detected.
Doctors are pinning their hopes on Eculizumab, an antibody treatment that has worked in the past against HUS, according to a BBC News report.
Take a glimpse of good and destroyed cucumbers from different markets: