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HealthMin Cadariu: E-coli strain, the cause of Arges HUS infant cases

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Health Minister Patriciu Achimas-Cadariu told a news conference on Thursday that an E-coli strain was the cause of the hemolytic-uremic syndrome that sickened infants of Arges County.

"After today's meeting with specialists of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), we can tell you that the cause of the sickening has been found, namely an E-coli strain; the specialists will provide more details," said Achimas-Cadariu.

Chairman of the Romanian Society of Microbiology Alexandru Rafila on Thursday said that the cause for the recent Arges infants falling ill with the haemolytic-uremic syndrome is Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, serotype 026, which is different from the E-coli usually inhabiting the human intestines. 

"In over 90 percent of the haemolytic-uremic syndrome cases there is a correlation with the presence of this Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli germ that secretes toxins. The enteropathogenic E-coli is the type that generates diarrhoea without toxin secretion. The cause of the haemolytic-uremic syndrome in this case is Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, serotype 026. This E-coli 026 is a different strain from what we usually host in our intestine and that is highly pathogenic because it generates toxins," Rafila told a news conference at the Marie Curie Hospital of Bucharest. 

He ruled out other hypotheses, such as viral infection, rotavirus, vaccination or chemical poisoning.

As far as the management of the Arges Public Healthcare Directorate is concerned, the minister said the control team of the Health Ministry is conducting an investigation that should end on March 4.

Minister Achimas-Cadariu said people should buy their groceries from certified sources and properly packaged and check that meat products are accompanied by animal health certificates.

The minister also underscored the importance of fruit and vegetables being properly washed, saying the food should be subjected to thermal processing when needed.

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