Deadly European E. Coli Outbreak Hits Americans

Strain found in 2 who had traveled to Europe
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2011 4:00 AM CDT
Czech scientists test vegetables for the deadly E. Coli strain.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

(Newser) – The strain of E. coli that has killed at least 17 people in Europe has been found in two people in the US, both of whom had recently traveled to Germany. Both are expected to survive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The source of the outbreak—no longer believed to be Spanish cucumbers—remains unknown and experts warn that tainted products could be transported into the US.

"Bacteria do not need a passport," a professor of preventive medicine tells ABC. Cases like the ones identified by the CDC "could happen again and the E. coli could be transmitted to family, friends, and others in the US," he says. Relatively little fresh produce is imported to the US from Europe, but doctors warn that proposed cutbacks to the FDA's food surveillance could make future outbreaks in the US more likely.

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