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Don't eat raw sprouts, U.S. Army health officials warn

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – U.S. Army health officials are warning Defense Department personnel and family members living in Europe against eating raw sprouts of any kind in the wake of continuing reports of new E.coli cases.

The advisory, issued Wednesday by Europe Regional Medical Command and the U.S. Public Health Command Region-Europe, replaces earlier guidance recommending that people avoid eating raw sprouts from northern Germany only.

No sprouts are being sold at commissaries in Europe at the moment, said ERMC spokesman Phillip Tegtmeier. If people choose to eat sprouts, Army health officials recommend that they be cooked until steaming hot throughout.

Since May 1, at least 48 people in Europe are reported to have died from a rare strain of E.coli bacteria, or related complications. Health authorities have linked the outbreak that began in Germany to raw sprouts grown at an organic farm near Hamburg.

While the rate of infections has tapered off, new cases are still being reported, bringing the total number of those sickened in the outbreak so far to more than 4,000, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Eight people in France recently were sickened with E.coli bacteria, with three patients since confirmed to carry the same strain as in Germany, according to the World Health Organization. Initial findings suggest locally grown sprouts might be involved, according to WHO.

Symptoms of the infection are bloody diarrhea accompanied by abdominal cramps. In more serious cases, hemolytic-uremic syndrome can develop, potentially causing kidney failure.

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