Russia’s sanitary watchdog bans EU vegetable imports

Russia’s sanitary watchdog Rospotrebnadzor banned the import of fresh vegetables from all European Union countries because of an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of the E. coli bacteria, sanitary chief Gennady Onishchenko said on Thursday.

“We are imposing a ban due to the fact that during a month’s time the situation has not been brought under control,” Onishchenko said. “The sources of the infection and transfer factors have not been established.”

At least 1,200 people in northern Germany have been affected by an Escherichia coli outbreak suspected to be caused by cucumbers imported from Spain. The European Commission has reported 10 deaths in nine countries, whereas European news agencies place the death toll at 17.

“The situation has worsened dramatically recently so we had to assume these very unpopular measures,” Onishchenko added.

E. coli bacteria are common and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, but a few strains can cause severe illness. An E. coli complication, hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), can lead to a stroke, seizures and fatal kidney disorders.

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti)

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