What exactly is this Ehec virus?

Four people died and over 600 were infected with a highly dangerous intestinal virus called Ehec within a week in Germany. Ehec spreads quickly and scientists have no real idea where it comes from.

Ehec is part of the Ecoli bacteria group that causes bloody diarrhea in humans. (pic: wikipedia)

Germans have been told to stay away from raw vegetables, fruits and milk. While raw tomatoes and salads are on the list of the most likely sources the virus was thought to be found on cucumbers imported from Spain.

So what’s this mysterious virus?

Ehec is more dangerous than a normal gastric flu because its bacteria enter the intestines and start dissolving them.

It  enters the blood and begins dissolving the kidneys which can lead to kidney failure and death in the worst case. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, nausea and sometimes fever (source: spiegelonline.de).

Because it’s hard to treat, Ehec is causing similar fears as the swine flu did in 2010.

It’s so hard to treat because the bacteria are resistant to most antibiotics. And the pills that can help, can also help the Ehec bacteria pump a kind of poison into the body (source: spiegelonline.de).

Contagious disease specialists from the German Robert Koch institute have declared Ehec an epidemic.

Virologist, Alexander Kekule, from the University in Halle told the German newspaper “Tagesspiegel” that the outbreak of Ehec is “odd and alarming”. Usually these kinds of infections are really rare, he says (source: spiegelonline.de).

He also thinks that it can’t be ruled out that Ehec was let loose deliberately as a biological attack.

There’s more to come

In the hospitals in Northern Germany doctors say that they expect to lose more patients over the next few days (source: spiegelonline.de).

In the meantime Ehec cases have been reported from the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands too. At this point no one knows how fast and how far this virus will spread.

If you’re worried about the virus there are a few simple steps you can take to stay safe: until things become a bit clearer, good hygiene considerably reduces the risk of getting Ehec (source: spiegelonline.de).

That means: regularly wash hands, give cutlery and dishes a thorough clean and probably stay away from raw vegetables for a while.

PS: In several comments users have pointed out that Ehec is not actually a virus, but a strain of Ecoli bacteria.

You might also be interested in reading my other blog post “Do I have EHEC?”

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29 Responses to What exactly is this Ehec virus?

  1. Andrea says:

    EHEC is not a virus. It is a strain of Escherichia coli, which is a bacterium.
    Just to state the facts here. Otherwise it might confuse people if you are talking about a virus.
    Best wishes,

    • Hello Andrea,

      thank you for your informative comment.
      I appreciate that you pointed that out.

      I have decided to go with the “virus” label because the media are going with it too. I have, however, pointed out that it is a strain of Ecoli.

      Thanks again for commenting.

      • ben61 says:

        And so the media are wrong. Don’t copy their mistake.

      • Hi Ben,

        thank you for your comment.

        I do understand what you mean and of course you are right in a way.
        But earlier I already tried to make to point that people are looking for info’s under these search terms – by explaining it in my blog I hope it gets clear though. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Forget the data economy and look at farmacy: antibiotics in particular. It might save your life, one day. | Ernst's Blog

  3. Bob says:

    “Virus” and “bacterium” are not just labels, these words actually mean something and they cannot be used interchangeably. Stating that EHEC is a virus is just simply wrong. It’s like saying a Boeing 747 is a car.

    • Bob says:

      Which is not to say that I don’t think it is good that you try to inform people. Keep up the good work.

      • Hello Bob,

        thanks for following up on that.
        I will make sure to put that right in my entry in a minute.

        But I also have to say that a lot of people found my blog by looking for “ehec virus”,
        which means that all of them have a) heard of it as such or b) believe it is a virus.

        However, that is not a reason why it should stay wrong. Will put it right.

        Thanks for your remarks. I greatly appreciate them.

  4. kishore says:

    Whoo guys..take a chill pill!!
    No one is going to search EHEC e.coli strain in their google. What’s important here is information. Unless and untill it is
    clear who gives a damn whether it’s a damn bacteria or a damn virus!!

  5. Arhur says:

    Hi there.
    Iam my self German living in RSA and following up all the news regarding the E Hec Virus.
    Everybody is talking about it diffrent ways where the Virus comes from but nobody i see, is or was thinking on a sideline of a Bio warefare created Virus that may have developed by a 3rd world Country where we involved in Military Actions .
    Maybe Peopel Should have a look at this also then to search and battel to find a overnight solution .

    • Hello Arhur,

      thanks for your comment.
      I am German myself and I just came back from a trip to Hanover, being really scared about bringing it back…. :-/ (But I haven’t *puh*)

      In a way I have included the point your making there because scientist have already uttered this fear of being attacked there. But I think we still have to be careful – blaming a country for delivering dirty cucumbers is one thing, but blaming a country for a biological attack something else.

      So, I think we may hear from that again, but they would have to be absolutely sure, don’t you think?

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  6. jelle says:

    hi there,

    I was just searching for information about EHEC when I crossed this website.
    I wanted to know about EHEC because its close to my home, which is in the netherlands.
    fortunately, we only have a few infected people.
    I’m no scientist, but we had to see it coming. Researchers said that some new bacteria are immune for antibiotics. I heard that on the news when I was a little boy.

    thank you for the information, it was very useful. I hope that I don’t get it myself.

    • Hi Jelle,

      thank you for your comment.

      I was very afraid too (and I still am as the ten days aren’t over yet…).
      If you have any experiences with EHEC around you, please share it with us. 🙂

  7. MIlan says:

    DObrý den já si myslím že to je vše jen hra žádný virus není jen aby se svět bál

    • Hi MIlan,

      thanks for commenting here.

      Actually, I don’t think this is a game or a joke to put some fear out there. 18 people have died and hundreds have been infected. What makes you think EHEC is a game?

  8. Prudence says:

    Hei Stefanie!
    How do you know ‘if’ you got EHEC??
    Is it painful in your back or you’ll get some flu or what?? I wanna know thanks!

    • Hi Prudence,

      thanks very much for leaving your comment.

      Good that you ask that question now. 🙂 I am planning to write a blog about that topic tomorrow.

      And: some of the symptoms already are in the blog.

      So, please, come back tomorrow and you’ll know more. If you still have any questions left after that, I’ll answer them as good as I can. 🙂

  9. Prudence says:


  10. Pingback: Do I have EHEC? My experience with the mysterious illness. | In-sight-out

  11. Prudence says:

    Ah btw,is EHEC just in Germany or all over Europe?
    I’m scared if I got EHC,because I lived in Hannover though I’m not German

  12. devin says:

    Hallo all i think it is just a new try off coverment material to us it on the people by spread it on cucumber across the world .see what happends?
    Every jear somthing happends that cost the pupulation lives and it is always a virus or a bacterie
    scarry dont jou think ?

  13. mark150st says:

    Its not a virus nor a bactaria its a bio weapon made by illuminati for there new order of depopulation on earth and who ever falls for this media shit is blinded by the nwo and illuminati

  14. Hi I have been studying the new strain of E coli escherichia bacterrium’s history. its a mutated form of E coli which can occur naturally in nature. The E coli bacterium has been studied for over a hundred years with no outstanding mutated E coli evidence showing up. Genetically modified bacterium is a possibility, which should not be ruled out. I suggest genetic engineers find the genome for this strain and quickly. The other possibilities is what is known as Floater Genes, which can lay dormant for eons; these can trigger a quick genetic change response within the bacterium’s structure. The bodies own immune system will eventually produce antibody protein blocking keys, to counteract this menace.

  15. yasir says:

    if there is any kind of virus then don’t worry ,,,there is almighty who can help you and make you free from all virus ,,my self yasir yousuf waza ,related with Ayurveda, ,i can help you all peoples who wants to heal his/herself………

  16. yasir says:

    don’t worry my dear friends ,,God is great ,and there is only who can help you in any way ,what you have to do call him once and you can find him near of you ,bless you all

  17. Donna says:

    I live in Canada and had just returned from a business trip to the US. About a week after I returned, I noticed symptoms of the bacteria/virus, but assumed I had an infection and treated it with ‘natural antibiotics’ which I use. I have no idea how or when I picked this up, but in travellling, anything is possible. However I began to back off the ‘natural antibiotics’ after a few days…and 5 weeks later still have symptoms, although I still did not know what it was. Yesterday I went to a man who practices energy medicine and he told me this was EHEC, and treated it. I just looked it up and found your information. Thank you for being conscientious in reporting these things…otherwise people don’t know.

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