E.coli suspect case in Qatar tests negative

June 12, 2011

Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has allayed fears of E-coli outbreak in the country as health officials said that the preliminary laboratory results of the first suspected case of E-coli infection were negative.

“One suspected case, a British woman who is on a visit to Doha, was admitted to Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) short-stay unit recently,” Dr Shazia Nadeem, Head of Emergency Preparedness Centre, said. “Though she had shown some of the symptoms, the preliminary results showed no sign of toxins. Her condition is stable now and we are still waiting for the final culture report,” she said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

Read more stories on the E. coli outbreak

Dr Mohammad Al Thani, director of the Public Health Department at SCH, denied rumours of contamination of some vegetables originating from Europe.

“There is no major outbreak in Qatar contrary to rumours that people are being quarantined,” he said. “We have imposed a temporary ban on fresh cucumber, tomato and lettuce from Germany and Spain, which will be lifted only when the situation becomes stable in Europe. It was also found that the deadly outbreak came from contaminated bean sprouts grown at an organic farm in northern Germany. Qatar does not import these bean sprouts,” he was quoted as saying by the daily.

Qatar has demanded that all fresh vegetable and fruit shipments imported from all European countries be certified as being free from the hemorrhagic Escherichia coli bacteria (EHEC) to be imported.

Officials have urged public to wash all vegetables and fruits thoroughly before consuming them. They also asked passengers travelling to the infected countries to avoid having fresh and raw vegetables.

“E-coli are normal inhabitants of human gastrointestinal tract and here in Qatar we have facility to isolate this bacteria,” Wassam Al Baker, Manager of Food Safety and Environment at SCH, said. “However, the current outbreak is caused by a rare strain. Hence we have ordered for new instruments for genotyping the strain,” he said.

SCH has also reminded doctors and health workers of Hamad Medical Corporation, private health care facilities and the Primary Health Care to investigate closely any patient who comes suffering from diarrhoea with blood in stool accompanied by stomach colic.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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