Although it has been over a month since the first case of enterohemorrhagic E. coli was reported in Germany, officials in that country have yet to identify the source of the outbreak. Although both Spanish cucumbers and sprouts grown by German farmers have been implicated, further tests have failed to substantiate initial claims. The inability to positively identify the source of the bacteria is rapidly becoming a source of embarrassment for the country. German officials acknowledge that time is not on their side, as the number of new cases appears to be on the decline, and testing produce several weeks after the initial outbreak may no longer be helpful. Dr. Guenael Rodier, an epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the contaminated vegetables have likely disappeared from the market and it will be difficult to link patients to produce so long after they first became infected. He added, “If we don’t know the likely culprit in a week’s time, we may never know the cause.” Despite the fact that the source remains elusive, there is little question that vegetables are the culprit and that washing and peeling all

fruits and vegetables is the only sure way to prevent food-borne illness. Photo by shawnleishman.

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About The Author

Frank Gillingham, M.D. serves as Chief Medical Director for HTH Worldwide. Frank has led HTH Worldwide's international business development efforts in Europe and Canada and has been a guest speaker at international business conferences and has authored a series of articles on travel medicine, including pieces on travel information available on the Internet and the role of physicians working with travel insurers. Frank is a Board-Certified Internist and Emergency Medicine Specialist. He is also a private emergency physician in Southern California and a former emergency department director and member of the UCLA emergency department staff. Frank completed residency training at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, received his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania .

1 Comment

  1. You never know where your produce and vegetables have been or what they have come in contact with. This is a really helpful post. We need to be careful

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