THE deadly E Coli strain spreading across Europe reached the UK today as sevens Britons were confirmed to be infected with the disease.
The ‘unique’ strain of E Coli, which has left 18 people dead in Germany has infected seven people in the UK, the British Health Protection Agency confirmed.
The E Coli strain responsible for the deadly outbreak of the disease across Europe is a new bacteria that has never been seen before, the World Health Organisation claimed.
The agency said that all the infected in the UK had recently visited Germany but did not immediately offer any further details indicating where the cases had been uncovered, or how recently the victims had visited Germany.
The agency insisted that there was no evidence that the source of this infection was inside Britain and also said there is no evidence of contaminated food being imported into the U.K.
The strain of E Coli which has so far claimed 18 people in Germany and infected more than 1,500 others is believed to be a mutant form of two different E coli bacteria.
The World Health Organisation has suggested that the lethal genes could explain why the Europe-wide outbreak has spread so quickly.
Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the World Health Organization, said: “this is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before and has various characteristics that make it more virulent and toxin-producing.”
Among the 1,500 affected by the disease, 470 have developed a rare kidney failure complications.
The number of people hit by a massive European outbreak of foodborne bacterial infections is one third higher than previously known, officials said.
Medical authorities appeared no closer to discovering either the source of the infection or the mystery at the heart of the outbreak: why the unusual strain of the E. coli bacteria appears to be causing so many cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, which attacks the kidneys and can cause seizures, strokes and comas.
The outbreak has hit at least nine European countries but virtually all of the sick people either live in Germany or recently traveled there.
Russia extended its ban on vegetable imports to all of the EU in a bid to prevent a deadly European bacterial outbreak while Spain’s prime minister has hit out at the European Commission and Germany for singling out the country’s produce as a possible source of a deadly bacterial outbreak in Europe.
He said the Spanish government would demand explanations and reparations.
The United Arab Emirates has issued a temporary ban on cucumbers from Spain, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands because of concerns about the deadly E. coli bacteria outbreak in Europe.