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Seeds likely source of E. coli outbreak

LONDON -- Contaminated Egyptian fenugreek seeds are likely the source of Europe's deadly E. coli outbreaks, health experts warned yesterday, predicting there could be more infections from seeds still in the food chain.

The tainted seeds may be behind the massive food poisoning outbreak in Germany beginning in May that has killed 49 people and infected over 4,000 in 15 countries, as well as a much smaller outbreak in France in June. More than 800 people have also developed a life-threatening kidney complication after catching the bug.

Yesterday, the national French laboratory said the E. coli strain that sickened 15 people in Bordeaux is genetically similar to the one in Germany. The World Health Organization said this increased the proof that the outbreaks were linked, but scientists still haven't found any contaminated seeds. -- AP

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