German health authorities have reported an outbreak of a severe illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Early symptoms of HUS include decreased frequency or volume of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in the cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Signs of HUS typically start 5–7 days after the start of diarrhea.
The organism causing the outbreak has been identified as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O104:H4. On June 11, 2011, German health authorities confirmed that raw sprouts associated with the investigation were contaminated with enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) 0104:H4 and stated that the strains of EHEC 0104:H4 found in the sprouts were identical to the EHEC 0104:H4 strains found in patients. In addition to adherence to good hygiene practices, German health authorities recommend abstaining from eating raw sprouts.
If you have traveled to Germany and have bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps or symptoms of HUS, go to a doctor right away and tell him or her about your recent travel.
- For additional information for travelers go to: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/outbreak-notice/2011-germany-europe-e-coli.htm
- For additional information for health care providers go to: http://emergency.cdc.gov/HAN/han00322.asp