THAILAND said today that it had found E. coli bacteria in avocados imported from Europe and was checking whether it was the same strain as the one behind a deadly outbreak in Europe.
The government urged the public not to panic, noting that there are several types of E. coli. It said people could still eat fresh fruit and vegetables, but should wash them thoroughly or cook them to kill bacteria.
The O104 strain of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli was detected in a shipment of avocados from an undisclosed European country, according to a public health ministry statement.
“The Medical Science Department will have to spend 3 to 5 days to check whether it is a deadly strain,” it said.
In Europe a highly virulent strain of E. coli has left at least 25 people dead, mostly in Germany.
Authorities are yet to identify the source of the outbreak, which has left more than 2600 people ill in at least 14 countries. Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.