• Germany edition
 
Scientists hunt source of life-threatening stomach bug
Photo: DPA

Scientists hunt source of life-threatening stomach bug

Published: 23 May 2011 08:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 May 2011 08:06 GMT+02:00

The enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) stomach bug responsible is unusually harsh and can even lead to fatal kidney failure.

“We have a clearly unusual situation,” said Gerard Krause of the Robert Koch health authority responsible for epidemiology.

There are around 25 confirmed cases in Lower Saxony and Bremen, while another 20 people are infected in each of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. Hesse authorities have registered 16 suspected cases while four more people are thought to have been infected in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Most of those infected are being treated in hospitals.

Those most frequently hit are women, said Krause.

“Women prepare food more often, and it is there they could have come into contact with it, possibly while cleaning vegetables or other foodstuffs,” he said.

The Robert Koch Institute has recommended people improve kitchen hygiene, making sure in particular that cutting boards and knives are clean. There is some suggestion that the infection source for this outbreak could be meat or unpasteurised milk.

The EHEC bacteria is often found in animal faeces which means direct contact with animals can transmit it to people – but that it can also come via unwashed vegetables, meat or unpasteurized milk – as well as from infected people.

Symptoms include watery or bloody diarrhoea, severe nausea and stomach ache. It can lead to kidney failure which can be fatal.

“It is important that people seek medical help,” said a spokesman for the Lower Saxony government.

The infection occurs regularly in Germany, infecting between 800 and 1,200 people a year, but usually with mild symptoms. It generally hits children. This time it is primarily adults who have been affected so far, and they are being badly affected.

Authorities have so far failed to find the source of the outbreak – because among other things those who have been struck, have been so ill they have not been able to give detailed information about what they have eaten.

DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man shot in tax office dispute
DPA

Man shot in tax office dispute

A tax office worker in the Schleswig-Holstein town of Rendsburg died in hospital after being shot on Monday morning. READ  

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs
Angela Merkel addressing the Bundestag on Monday as her ministers look on. Photo: DPA

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag on Monday to explain her government's decision to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds fighting terrorist group Isis. READ  

Olympic visions compete in Berlin and Hamburg
Berlin and Hamburg mayors Klaus Wowereit and Olaf Scholz on Monday. Photos: DPA

Olympic visions compete in Berlin and Hamburg

Germany's capital and its gateway to the North Sea each released details of their Olympic bids on Monday as the race for the 2024 or 2028 summer games nominations picks up momentum. READ  

Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria
Photo: DPA

Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria

Six people were infected with a bacteria from the Caribbean which has made itself at home in the popular German vacation destination. One of them is now in a coma. READ  

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees
DPA

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees

UNHCR Commissioner Antonio Guterres is lauding Germany's role in accommodating the influx of refugees in Europe, while pointing at the imbalance of effort within the EU. The federal government has pledged to do more. READ  

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome
Photo: DPA

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome

Starting on Monday, vacuum cleaners drawing more than 1600 watts can no longer be brought into Germany. The ban is part of a an EU-wide environmental protection measure. READ  

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote
CDU leader Stanislav Tillich with SPD Martig Dulig. Photo: DPA

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic (CDU) party is in search of a new partner after the expulsion of its former allies the Free Democrats (FDP) from the Saxon state parliament. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation
Photo: Phorms Education

Bilingual education from nursery to graduation

A network of German based schools is changing how students learn languages by introducing English and Deutsch from day one, with the method yielding impressive academic results. The Local finds out more about Phorms Education. READ  

JobTalk Germany
'German bosses need to praise more'
More of this? Photo: Shutterstock

'German bosses need to praise more'

What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice. READ  

Train drivers take their turn to strike
A banner announcing a previous rail strike in June is displayed in a station. Photo: DPA

Train drivers take their turn to strike

A train drivers' union has warned of a nationwide strike to take place on Monday evening as it seeks leverage in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,418
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd