Global Alert and Response (GAR)

EHEC outbreak: Increase in cases in Germany

Cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) continue to rise in Germany. Ten countries have now reported cases to WHO/Europe.

As of 31 May 2011, nine patients in Germany have died of HUS, and six of EHEC. One person in Sweden has also died. There are many hospitalized patients, several of them requiring intensive care, including dialysis.

The number of patients in Germany presenting with HUS and bloody diarrhoea caused by STEC is 470, which is 97 more than the day before, and 1064 of EHEC, which is an increase of 268. Overall in Europe, 499 cases of HUS and 1115 cases of EHEC have been reported, 1614 in total.

Cases have now also been notified from: Austria (HUS 0, EHEC 2), Denmark (7, 7), France, (0, 6), Netherlands (4, 4), Norway, (0, 1), Spain, (1, 0), Sweden (15, 28) and Switzerland (0, 2) and the United Kingdom. (2, 1) All these cases except two are in people who had recently visited northern Germany or in one case, had contact with a visitor from northern Germany.

Numerous investigations are continuing into the source of the outbreak, which is still unclear.

In accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR), WHO is keeping Member States informed about the latest developments and providing technical guidance on further investigation of the ongoing outbreak. WHO does not recommend any trade restrictions related to this outbreak.

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