Deadly EHEC Virus Hits Holland

27 May Print

Deadly EHEC Virus Hits Holland

The EHEC virus, a virulent form of the E. Coli bacteria, has medical professionals and consumers on the alarm. According to the public health body RIVM one person of Dutch origin has been hospitalized after becoming infected with the bacteria while in Germany.

Three people have died in Germany in the past week because of the virus: two women in their 80s and one woman of 24 years. Experts suspect that hundreds of other people have also been infected.

The virus is commonly found in the stomach of animals such as cows, however most strains are harmless. It is transmitted to humans primarily through consumption of contaminated foods, such as raw or undercooked ground meat products and raw milk, as well as by animal excretions getting into water and food, and by cross-contamination during food preparation.

EHEC is more dangerous than a normal gastric flu because its bacteria enter the intestines and start dissolving them. It enters the blood and begins dissolving the kidneys which can lead to acute kidney failure, strokes, comas and, in the worst case, death.

Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, nausea and sometimes fever.

Consumers are advised to wash prepackaged salads and vegetables properly, as well as ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly before eating. Furthermore, the exertion of good hygiene, such as washing hands and cutlery regularly, should keep infection at bay.

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