German E. coli O104 update: 10 dead, 276 HUS, 1000 sick

More women have died in Germany from an E. coli O104 outbreak linked to cucumbers grown in Spain, bringing the death toll to 10. Of the 1,000 or so sick, 276 have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Hospitals in the city of Hamburg, where more than 400 people are believed to have been infected, were said to be overwhelmed and sending patients to clinics elsewhere in the country.

Austria’s food safety agency ordered a recall of organically grown cucumbers, tomatoes and aubergines supplied by a Spanish producer which is thought to be the source of the outbreak. It said 33 Austrian stores were affected.

According to Denmark’s National Serum Institute, there are nine confirmed cases, with at least another eight people suspected of having the intestinal infection, also known as VTEC, in Denmark.

Sweden has reported 25 E. coli cases, of whom 10 developed HUS, according to the European Commission, while Britain counted three cases (two HUS).

Officials in the Czech Republic said the cucumbers may have been exported there, as well as to Austria, Hungary and Luxembourg.

"As long as the experts in Germany and Spain have not been able to name the source of the agent without any doubt, the general warning for vegetables still holds," German Agriculture and Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner said on Sunday in a report in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

The European Commission says experts are now probing two agricultural sites in southern Spain, in Almeria and Malaga, suspected of exporting products, most likely cucumbers, tainted with E. coli.