PETALING JAYA: Visitors to Europe from May 1 who are down with bloody diarrhoea have been advised to undergo medical examination at nearby health centres.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said he received a report from the World Health Organisation on a recent bacterial outbreak in Germany.
It was reported that the recent E. coli outbreak stemming from cucumbers in Europe has so far resulted in the deaths of 15 Germans and one Swede while hundreds of others have fallen seriously ill.
The cucumbers carried the Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) pathogen, a particularly virulent strain of E. coli.
“Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) resulted from contamination of the EHEC bacteria.
“It ruptures red blood cells, thus causing haemolytic anaemia, acute renal failure and low platelet count (thrombocytopenia),” he said in a statement here yesterday.
Dr Hasan said the symptoms were abdominal cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea (dysentery).
“The symptoms can cause dehydration, tiredness, lethargy, anaemia, uraemia and bleeding tendencies.
“They can be seen in three to eight days and victims usually recover after 10 days without any complication,” he said.
The mortality rate resulting from the bacterial infection stood at between 5% and 10%.
Outbreak of the bacterial infection was first reported on April 25.
In a related development, the Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Growers Associations has assured the public that cucumbers sold locally are not imported from Europe.
Its secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said the small portion of imported cucumbers sold locally was sourced from China, Thailand or Indonesia.
“But most of the cucumbers sold in supermarkets are grown locally.
“We have ample supplies from Johor,” he added.
Chay said Malaysia did not import cucumbers from Europe because the costs of transportation were too high.
Federation of Vegetable Sellers Associations Malaysia president Soo Cheng Kee said there was no need to import cucumbers from Europe when there was ample local supply. - theStarOnline