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E.coli outbreak affects 12 Britons

The number of people in the UK that have been affected by a toxic E.coli outbreak has reached 12, according to the Health Protection Agency.

The news comes as a new case of food poisoning thought to be linked to the outbreak was reported.

Three others are also being treated for a potentially deadly complication of E.coli - haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).

All are either from, or have recently visited, northern Germany, where investigations into the cause of the outbreak are continuing.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said there is no evidence that any food contaminated with the strain of E.coli, which has infected more than 2,000 people in Germany, has found its way to British shops. The government has decided not to ban imports of food, he added.

In a written ministerial statement, he said the Food Standards Agency would withdraw foods from shops or ban imports should the outbreak reach the UK.

The government is 'taking all possible measures' to monitor the spread of the E.coli 0104. So far, 23 people are reported to have died - 22 Germans and a Swedish national.

The source has yet to be confirmed but the German authorities thought it to be a sprouted seed mix consisting of alfalfa seeds, fenugreek, lentil and azuki beans from a farm in northern Germany.

Copyright Press Association 2011