So we are back to the beginning. The Hamburg Institute for Hygiene and the Environment now says that it may not be Spanish cucumbers after all that are causing the deadly E.coli bacteria outbreak in Europe. Here we go again - another botched up case of investigating a food borne illness. It happens, particularly when researchers and authorities are under pressure. As we said in earlier blogs, it wasn't a conclusive link yet.
Apparently the testing found that the E.coli bacteria isolated from the stools of sick people don't quite match the bacteria in those suspect Spanish cucumbers.
That leaves us with several questions which have not been answered.
First, are they sure that food is really the cause of the outbreak? Conceivably, it could be contaminated water, or beer or coke or ice or something else. Did interviews with victims ask what they drank recently?
Secondly, if it is food, what is it? Yes, we seem to be back to the beginning on that one as well. Some of the alternatives that have been tossed out over the past week or so are tomatoes, lettuce and eggplant. Who knows, maybe it isn't even one of these. Maybe it's cabbage.
Thirdly, what are those E.coli 0104 bacteria doing in those Spanish cucumbers? Or, was that laboratory finding a mistake too, and they weren't really there?
The mystery deepens. And unfortunately, this one had better be solved quickly. Illnesses and deaths are increasing. And so are political tensions.
To your good health!