May 31, 2011

YEREVAN, May 31. / ARKA /. In a response to deadly outbreak of
a virulent form of E. coli bacteria in cucumbers that has killed
already 15 people in Europe, Armenian authorities have halted imports
of vegetables from all European countries, Shushan Ghazarian, a
spokeswoman for the State Food Security Service, told ARKA.

Earlier Russia has banned vegetable imports from Germany and Spain
and said it may expand the ban to all European Union member states.

The outbreaks has also made more than 1,000 people ill in Germany as
well as people from Spain, Sweden, Britain, Denmark, France and the
Netherlands who had recently been in Germany. Most of the deaths have
been in northern Germany. The E. coli pathogen has been identified
on cucumbers imported from Spain, but it is not clear if they were
contaminated there, during transport, or possibly in Germany.

Shushan Ghazarian said Armenia had banned import of cucumbers from
Europe a month ago and after the outbreak of E.coli the authorities
have banned import of all vegetables. Other foods from Europe are
allowed into Armenia only after a careful examination at border check
points, she said.

Babken Liloyan, head of the the State Food Security Service~Rs
department in charge of public relations, said import of all phytogenic
products from Spain was banned. He said the authorities banned also
a month ago import of vegetables from Turkey.

The German government has identified the disease as hemolytic-uremic
syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a type of E. coli known
as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). The WHO said in a risk
assessment that the HUS/STEC outbreak is one the largest in the world
of its kind. HUS affects the blood, kidneys and, in severe cases,
the nervous system and can be particularly serious for children and
the elderly.

From: Baghdasarian