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E.coli deaths continue as ministers warn of threat

The Local · 25 May 2011, 16:04

Published: 25 May 2011 16:04 GMT+02:00

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Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner and Health Minister Daniel Bahr called for everyone to take particular care with food hygiene at a press conference in Berlin.

The country was faced with a, “threatening situation,” said Aigner. “Therefore particular care is needed,” added Bahr.

But they both rejected the idea of a crisis team, which is generally only needed if international information sharing or other such measures were needed.

The two ministers said they were both confident that the public health authority Robert Koch Institute (RKI) would identify the root of the problem.

“We are optimistic that we will soon be bordering on being able to say where the source is,” said Aigner.

Reinhard Burger, president of the RKI, had already said earlier in the day that it was possible that no clear source of the infection might ever be identified.

So far suggestions have been made the raw, insufficiently cleaned vegetables or salads could be a source of infection, while investigations are continuing in Frankfurt where all 19 people infected in the city had eaten at canteens run by consultancy giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The number of people confirmed to have died in Germany from EHEC infection, which can cause fatal kidney failure, has reached three. But health officials said an elderly woman who died on Sunday in Stormarn, Schleswig Holstein, was not killed by the bacteria.

Story continues below…

The latest woman to die was a 41-year-old from Cuxhaven – although she was being treated for the symptoms of EHEC infection since May 21, her cause of death will now be investigated. So far all those to die have been women, while it appears they are more frequently becoming infected than men.

Yet around 140 people are seriously ill with bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure as a result of EHEC infection, the RKI announced on Wednesday. Hundreds across the country are thought to be infected with the bacteria but suffering less severe symptoms.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:25 May 25, 2011 by heathen
What a crappy way to go.
17:25 May 25, 2011 by JDee
For anyone that is interested there is the film 'Food Inc' ( 2008 ) which looks at how industrial beef farming creates new strains of ECOLI in cows which can then spread to humans. I'm not jumping to conclusions but maybe something to avoid for a few days until more is known. The ECOLI problem is a side effect of feeding beef cows corn instead of their natural grass diet.
18:46 May 25, 2011 by marimay
Everyone should watch Food Inc.
22:56 May 25, 2011 by llvolkman
JDee- As long as you cook your meat properly, there should be little concern over e. coli in beef. Cooking it to 70 degrees C should kill any e. coli present, which is why the articles states you should cook all your vegetables. Also, corn is a grass. The only reason why corn isn't "natural" is because most of the cattle we commonly know originate from Europe, and corn is native to North America.
01:32 May 26, 2011 by Bill Marler
This is so sad - 4 deaths, 140 with HUS and some 400 or more sickened. It appears that the outbreak is not meat related - it reminds me quite a lot of the spinach outbreak in the US in 2006 - most of the sick were women.

08:50 May 26, 2011 by JDee
Volkman, agreed but unfortunately you can't be sure when eating away from home. It is easy to contaminate cooked meat from raw meat by using the same utensil. In one canteen recently I've watched the cooks repeatedly handle raw meat and salad with the same hands.

I don't know the reason why, it is just recorded that E-Coli outbreaks start from corn-fed rather than cows that are grazed on pasture.
11:15 May 26, 2011 by marimay

Let me know when you see a cow lazily walk over to a corn field to peel the husk off of some bio engineered corn and eat it off the cob, instead of staying in its nice green grassy pasture.

There are other definitions for natural you know.
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