• Germany's news in English

E. coli fear grips Hamburg hospitals

The Local · 2 Jun 2011, 09:06

Published: 02 Jun 2011 09:06 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"At home we eat a lot of raw vegetables," Lucka tells news agency AFP, speaking of the most likely cause mentioned by German authorities for the outbreak.

"But both my husband and I are fit and well," adds this nurse who still cannot understand how her boys, Johannes, 12, and Maximilian, 14, could have fallen ill to the virulent E.coli bacteria which has so far killed 16 in Germany and one in Sweden.

"It all started with bad tummies, and then came diarrhoea. But you don't just run to the doctor because of such things," she says. But the boys quickly got worse.

On May 22, they were rushed to the Eppendorf University Clinic where Johannes was immediately operated on and placed him on dialysis because of failing kidneys.

Contamination at its worst develops into a full-blown disease - known as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) - with bloody diarrhoea, kidney failure and


In Hamburg, the city most affected by the outbreak, officials on Wednesday put the figure of confirmed and suspected bacteria cases at 668, with 124 of these HUS.

Maximilian has since returned home, but Johannes remains in hospital - one of 20 children struck by the disease which has felled mainly women. Some 60 adult patients are also hospitalised here.

"I'm slowly starting to eat again, the worst is over," says Johannes, looking pale lying in his hospital bed.

The clinic's first floor, reserved for emergency treatment, is closed to the public, with only the relatives of those ill allowed in.

At the front door, a notice urges visitors to donate blood as many patients require plasma treatment.

"I know how important it is for a hospital to have enough blood, especially now when the need is so great because of the bacteria," says Jürgen Hentschel, a 61-year-old retired policeman who turned up to give blood.

In Hamburg and the neighbouring region of Schleswig-Holstein, also badly hit by the contamination, the Red Cross is running short of blood.

Story continues below…

"We've delivered 7,000 bags of plasma over the past week. Normally we deliver 800 a month," says regional Red Cross spokesman Jens Lichte.

"A victim of this bacteria needs daily blood transfusions from 10 to 15 donors," he added.

Hamburg health officials say they have so far been able to cope, but the situation, they add, is deeply worrying.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:24 June 2, 2011 by pepsionice
Kinda odd....both kids get ill....parents don't. I'd be thinking something that they ate at school or bought on the way to school. At this time of year.....ice cream is sold to a fair degree as well.
15:45 June 2, 2011 by marian angela
Hello I agree with some of the comments that have been posted earlier on other pages. I think this is terrible and I hope scientists, doctors find a cure. It is really frigjhtening but I do feel that we are being kept in the dark about things. Remember the swine flu. I think this could be the same. I do feel that this is maybe a bio hazard. Other things need to be looked into more quickly and the Government to stop sitting on their hands. A very nice day to all
01:33 June 3, 2011 by byke
I was in köln and hamburg last week, but generally don't eat veggies ..... But feel pretty I'll with stomach pains and Puking at present - but no bloody poop.

I live in Sweden .....

However I will list what I ate while there just in case (from hamburg)

I drank bottled water from volvic and evian.

I ate bread and butter sandwiches with just salami or ham from "le pan" at the main hamburg train station. I also had some nut covered croissant.

I also had some awful "chips" as in British French fries with ketchup from some open high street cafe , half way between the train station and Starbucks .... At the time I wondered why they tasted so bad and why so many people seemed to eat them and I saw a box of potatoes which showed they were actually baking potatoes.

I also had some chips on the boat between rodby and puttgarten.

In koln, I ate pizza (bread, Tom sauce, salt, salami, mushroom .... No cheese)

I drank coke, orange juice and volvic and evian water also. And also had some sandwiches from le pan again at the main train station with salami (no salad)

Not sure if I have the ecoli .... It could just be a tummy bug.

But if I do, then please pass this info over.
15:58 June 3, 2011 by FloridaBuzz
All food should be irradiated before it is sold to the public. Irradiation destroys all harmful bacteria, preserves the food and is completely safe. We have an irradiation plant in Florida, and it has been used for years.
16:02 June 3, 2011 by RodAnders
Biological warfare. By who?
20:37 June 4, 2011 by Thinking22
Irradiate food?

How sad that zapping food with radiation is even allowed.

I would never eat irradiated food and neither does anyone I know.

We wouldn't touch irradiated food with a ten-foot pole.

There are no long-term studies to prove irradiated food is safe, and there are growing concerns about it. Just google irradiated food dangers and read !

I go out of my way NOT to eat Florida strawberries that are irradiated or Hawaii papayas that are irradiated.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd