Laura Stevens
May 31, 2011

Europe’s outbreak of E. coli bacterial infections caused another two deaths on Tuesday, including the first outside Germany, bringing the rising total to 16 reported fatalities and around 400 severe cases.

The outbreak, centered in northern Germany, is costing farmers and retailers millions of euros as mountains of raw vegetables sit uneaten, with no clarity on what caused the infections. The aggressive strain has now spread to six other European countries.

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All of the cases so far, including that of a Swedish woman who died Tuesday, have been linked to northern Germany. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, based in Stockholm, the disease is normally food-borne, but person-to-person transmission is possible. The strain, known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli, can cause bloody diarrhea and, occasionally, kidney failure.

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