16 Dead as Europe's E. Coli Outbreak Spreads

Hard-hit Germany blames cucumbers from Spain

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 31, 2011 7:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – A deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe linked to tainted cucumbers and other vegetables is getting worse, report the Wall Street Journal and AP:

  • The toll: Sixteen people are dead (15 in Germany and one woman in Sweden who had just traveled to Germany); more than 1,000 people are sick in Germany alone, with 373 having the most serious form of E. coli. Hundreds more cases are reported throughout Europe.

  • The source: Germany blames cucumbers from Spain, specifically the Almeria and Malaga regions. A third batch from the Netherlands or Denmark is under investigation. Spain angrily denies being the source, and EU officials say the vegetables could have become tainted anywhere along the supply chain.
  • The fallout: Russia has banned some imports from Spain and Germany (and may expand it to all EU nations); Italy, Austria, and other nations have stopped short of that but are ramping up inspections at supermarkets.

A street vendor stands next to cucumbers on sale in Berlin on Monday.
A street vendor stands next to cucumbers on sale in Berlin on Monday.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
A farm worker picks a cucumber inside a greenhouse in Algarrobo, near Malaga, southern Spain, on Tuesday.
A farm worker picks a cucumber inside a greenhouse in Algarrobo, near Malaga, southern Spain, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Sergio Torres)
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