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Food Poisoning Onset – HPA Advise on E-Coli Outbreak

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The Health Protection Agency (HPA) have issued a warning to any Brits planning to travel to Germany within the foreseeable future.

Germany is believed to be the source of the recent E-coli outbreak but as yet, despite several cases being reported within the UK, it is not thought that any of them have origins here.

Generally E-coli will cause diarrhoea and pass within seven days as most people carry harmless strains within their intestines. However, the current strain seems to contain Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) which is a serious condition that can effect the blood, kidneys and, in severe cases, the central nervous system. Treatment in hospital is likely and in extreme cases HUS can be fatal.

Health professionals are concerned that the number of cases of HUS that have been reported during the current outbreak is unusually high and the population affected is not typical. Generally HUS will affect young children, however, it is reported that many adults have also been affected.

Currently the World Health Organisation is carrying out genetic sequencing of the bacterium in a bid to learn more about this particular strain and it’s unusual habits.

In the meantime the HPA advice is to maintain good personal hygiene to avoid person to person contamination and to assist children with hand washing after using the toilet and before eating. Anyone visiting Germany is advised to avoid lettuce, cucumber and tomato and to seek urgent medical advice if they experience bloody diarrhoea within two weeks of their visit.

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