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Warning over German infection outbreak

Health workers have been told to watch out for signs of serious illness linked to E.coli in people coming from Germany.

There have been two cases of German people in England with symptoms showing they have caught the bug. Germany is suffering from an outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) - a serious complication of the verocytotoxin-producing version of E.coli. TheVTEC strain suspected in the outbreak is the rarely-seen O104.

Victims can be taken to hospital as the blood, kidneys, and occasionally the central nervous system can be badly hit. Since the middle of May, 214 cases have been reported in the north of Germany, with two deaths having taken place.

The UK HPA said adults have been mostly affected - 70% of these being women. Travellers are warned to avoid eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, all thought to be a possible source of infection.

Dr Dilys Morgan of the HPA said: "We are in the process of alerting health professionals to the situation and advising them to urgently investigate potential cases with a travel history to Germany."

Copyright © Press Association 2011