E-coli outbreak traced to vegetable grower

The source of an e-coli outbreak in western Sweden affecting 110 people has been traced to a vegetable grower outside of Vårberg, that had watered crops with contaminated water from a nearby stream.

The e-coli bacteria is an intestine bacteria that causes a severe infection resulting in diarrhoea and if not treated, even death. It can be found in non-pasteurized milk and milk products and raw meat, especially minced meat, coming from cattle.

The population of western Sweden are being encouraged not to use water from streams to water vegetable gardens. Of the 110 contaminated, seven became critically sick and needed dialysis. According to the investigation, the contamination occurred between the 16th of August and 10th of September.

“What is left to see is if we are looking at the same kind of bacteria,” said Ann Södertröm, infection control doctor at Västra Götaland.

The source of infection was found to be salad and it was mostly adults, especially women, who became ill. The cultivator responsible for the contaminated vegetables withdrew his products and the infections ceased.

“If you use water coming from open bodies, you have to be sure it is not contaminated, especially if there are cattle in the nearby region,” said Plym Forshell veterinarian at the National Food Administration to TT.