Arizona death prompts probe for European E.coli link

Filed on June 24, 2011

ATLANTA - US health officials are investigating whether the death of an Arizona resident could be linked to the recent E.coli outbreak in Europe.

If confirmed, the Arizona patient, who recently traveled to Germany, would be the first US citizen to die from the deadly bacteria that has killed 29 people in Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.

There have been five confirmed cases in the United States of patients who were sickened by the same strain of the bacteria that has swept Europe, the CDC said.

It is not yet known whether the Arizona patient was infected with E.coli, CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell told Reuters. The patient did, however, have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) — a type of kidney failure that has afflicted 823 people in Europe, she said.

The CDC is not saying whether the Arizona patient was a man or woman, Russell said.

“We’re working with the local health authorities to investigate” the Arizona case, she said.

The Robert Koch Institute announced June 10 that raw sprouts from a farm in Germany were the likely source of the outbreak, the CDC reported.

“Over the past few weeks, the number of cases (in Europe) associated with this outbreak has markedly decreased,” the agency said.

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