EHEC outbreak: increased cases in Germany

Cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) continue to rise in Germany. 10 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. Many patients are hospitalized, several requiring intensive care, including dialysis.
  • The number of patients in Germany presenting with HUS and bloody diarrhoea caused by Shigatoxin-producing E. coli (STEC) is 470, 97 more than the day before, and is 1064 for EHEC, an increase of 268. Overall in the WHO European Region, 499 cases of HUS and 1115 cases of EHEC have been reported, 1614 in total.
  • Cases have now also been notified from: Austria (0 HUS, 2 EHEC), Denmark (7, 7), France (0, 6), Netherlands (4, 4), Norway (0, 1), Spain (1, 0), Sweden (15, 28) , Switzerland (0, 2) and the United Kingdom (2, 1). All cases except two are in people who had recently visited northern Germany or had contact with a visitor from northern Germany.
  • Numerous investigations are continuing.  The cause of the outbreak is E. coli serotype O104:H4, while the source remains 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.