Food Safety News: Yes, the German E. coli O104:H4 was a pathogen of a high virulence that suddenly emerged, and that might point to an unnatural phenomenon. But might it have been a deliberate act? Or some kind of accident? To be sure, the 2011 outbreak centered on Northern Germany was large, severe, and deadly. Out of the 2,987 confirmed cases not involving hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), 18 died. And out of 855 HUS cases, 35 died.

Fenugreek sprouts, probably grown from E. coli contaminated seeds imported from Egypt, were blamed in the official investigations for the unusual E. coli O104 outbreak. However, some researchers still put the 2011 outbreak in a special category. They call it an unusual epidemiological event or UEE. “The sudden and unexplainable emerging of a fast increasing number of cases and deaths from bloody diarrhea and HUS might have been caused naturally, accidentally, or intentionally,” a Serbian-German research team writes in the European Journal of Public Health Advance Access for April 15.

Read the full article at the Food Safety News website