E coli outbreak: What do we know so far? Part 2

June 7, 2011

Actually the answer is not a whole lot more than when I posted on Friday.

The source is still unclear although now both beansprouts and the Hamburg wholesale produce market are being implicated although no positive samples have been identified.

Across Europe producers of salad vegetables have been hard hit as consumers avoid their products.  The EU has now announced 150million euro aid package to help the producers out but many – especially Spanish cucumber producers – are still angry that statements have been released to the press blaming certain products only then for tests to come back as negative.

Personally I really don’t envy the German officials involved in this outbreak. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.  If there is evidence that a product is implicated and they don’t say anything until further tests have proved that the product is to blame they are likely to be criticised for not warning the public of the dangers soon enough.  If they do name the implicated product and then that turns out to be wrong they are potentially responsible for the loss of millions of euros from the businesses involved.

What do you think the officials should have done?  When should the public be informed of a risk?  What evidence would you want before you made an announcement?

Below are some more links but please drop a note in the comments if you find any other good ones

Health Protection Agency (UK) Q&A  and latest news

World Health Organisation latest news

Good Q&A over at the BBC website

Updated to add new link


One comment

  1. […] only is there a paper out discussing the characterisation of the latest E.coli bug (see posts here, here and here) but the use of badger culling to prevent bovine tuberculosis cases in cattle is also back […]

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