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UK confirms E.coli cases linked to German outbreak

Seven people in Britain have been infected with a strain of E.coli bacteria that has killed 17 people in Europe, Britain's health authorities confirmed Thursday. Each of the English cases has been linked to Germany - the outbreak's centre.

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AFP - Seven people in Britain have been infected with the E. coli bacteria which has killed 17 people in Europe, with all cases linked to Germany, health authorities said Thursday.

Three of those infected were British nationals who had recently travelled to Germany and four were German nationals, the Health Protection Agency said in a statement.

Of those cases three were full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) -- a disease that causes can serious liver damage -- and the other four suffered bloody bloody diarrhoea, it said.

"All are suspected to be related to this outbreak" in Germany of Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), said the statement.

"There are no reports of any secondary infections in England," it added.

Most of the deaths from the outbreak have been in Germany, where health authorities are desperately searching for the cause after Spanish cucumbers were wrongly blamed at first.

Dilys Morgan, a disease specialist at the Health Protection Authority, said it was monitoring the situation "very carefully".

"We are working with the authorities in Germany and with our counterparts across Europe as to the cause of the outbreak," Morgan said.

"We have alerted health professionals to the situation and advised them to urgently investigate and report suspected cases with a travel history to Germany."

Russia banned European vegetable imports Thursday in response to the crisis, which has left hundreds of people ill, while Spain said it would seek compensation over being wrongly blamed.

Spain said its own tests on its cucumbers showed no sign of EHEC.

Officials in the northern German port city of Hamburg, the epicentre of the outbreak, had last week cited imported Spanish cucumbers as the source of the contamination.
 

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