STOCKHOLM, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The number of E. coli infections has increased since July to a national outbreak, the Swedish Television SVT reported on Tuesday citing Swedish Public Health Agency.
"We have identified around 50 cases and there will be more. This is the biggest outbreak that we have had for a long time," epidemiologists Anders Tegnell from the Public Health Agency told the Swedish news agency TT.
E. coli bacteria can cause bloody diarrhea and in some severe cases even complications that can lead to kidney failure.
According to Tegnell, it is difficult to say why the outbreak has been so big right now. The outbreak is biggest in the county of Uppsala (70 km north of Stockholm) and Vastra Gotaland (615 km west of Stockholm).
"The bacteria is mainly found in animals. It then spreads to humans via food such as minced meat and vegetables that have been in contact with cow excrement," Tegnell said.
In addition, the infection can also be transmitted from person to person via bathing water.
Municipalities and food industry officials are now investigating the outbreak and trying to prevent it from spreading.
"We interview the infected, test their food and visit the manufacturers to track down a possible origin of it," Tegnell told SVT.