The E. coli outbreak that killed 12 people and sickened more than 700 people across Europe has struck South Africa. At least 10 people have been sickened and at least two of them have died from the enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, a new variation of the common bacteria.
Public health officials suspect that illnesses related to the new strain began in mid-March, not December as had been previously thought. A spokeswoman for the South African Department of Health said a water treatment plant in the country’s capital, Pretoria, was likely to be the source.
Health officials said Tuesday that thousands of pig carcasses had been found near the plant, but they said they were waiting for results of tests on the carcasses to confirm their suspicions.
A precautionary milk ban was immediately imposed after the first case was reported, but the ban was lifted by the Department of Health Tuesday afternoon.
The World Health Organization cautioned that an investigation was still under way and warned that people who had contact with affected people should seek medical attention.