• Germany's news in English

WHO says deadly E. coli is new strain

The Local · 2 Jun 2011, 14:49

Published: 02 Jun 2011 14:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The E. coli bacteria claimed its 17th German victim on Thursday, with the death of a 81-year-old woman in a Hamburg hospital.

More than 1,500 people in nine European countries have now been infected by the rapid spread of the bacteria, with most cases and all but one of the deaths occurring in Germany.

Health authorities have been unable to find the cause of the outbreak, but the United Nations agency WHO believes that they are dealing with a new strain of E. coli.

WHO food safety expert Hilde Kruse told news agencies on Thursday that the unprecedented strain has "various characteristics" that make it "more toxin-producing."

Amid the continuing uncertainty, Russia announced it is banning the import of all fresh vegetables from the European Union. Gennady Onishchenko, head of Russia's consumer protection agency, urged his countrymen to "forgo imported vegetables in favor of domestic products."

He also said that the outbreak revealed deficiencies in Europe's health regulations.

Vegetable exports from the EU to Russia were estimated to be worth €594 million last year, with France, Germany and Poland the biggest exporters.

The EU called Russia's actions "disproportionate."

Story continues below…

Germany's federal disease control authority, the Robert Koch Institute, admitted that the doctors were baffled. RKI boss Reinhard Burger told the BBC, "I think the number of cases will come down, but how long it takes I'm not sure. It could be indeed weeks or months and I'm not sure if we will really find the source."

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:44 June 2, 2011 by marian angela

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
17:20 June 2, 2011 by harcourt
I genuinely don't want to be alarmist but in the last 24hrs I've been asking myself what an attempt at biological terrorism would look like. I do hope the authorities might be thinking along the same lines especially with the recent death of Bin Laden
17:27 June 2, 2011 by venkyfra
may be its a long-term consequence of GMO food... no one knows how these things react on long run... probably we have reached a point where all these GMO stuff are hitting & making out weird stuff in our intestine there by making us sick!!

a simple google for e-coli gives all weird stories!!
17:44 June 2, 2011 by LarsBar
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:52 June 2, 2011 by marian angela
I am also wondering how hygienic are some people handling food, vegetables etc. Maybe everybody in this warehouse should be tested. Bacteria is also passed on this way.

It is another theory. It also brings to mind, street vendors handling food and money. Shouldn't be aloud.

Every avenue has to be explored.
18:43 June 2, 2011 by Cuchullain
Hmmm, Germany allows dogs in restaurants; Germany now has an ecoli breakout. Couldn't be related...right?

I'm sure that dog that took a crap in the middle of the restaurant I was at the other night wasn't to blame.
19:18 June 2, 2011 by Gretl
I have thought about the terrorist angle, and it isn't hard to do, but in reality, it is so easy for food to become contaminated, I don't think we need to raise the spectre of "Terrorism". The common European practice of spreading fields with human and animal waste can be problematic if it hasn't had adequate time to compost (not to mention viruses and heavy metals). In lesser developed countries or developed countries hiring farm laborers from lesser developed nations can also lead to direct human contamination from lack of sanitation facilities or lack of education about sanitation. The influx of workers to Europe from Africa with different E. Coli strains, mixing with European strains made have germinated into theis deadly hybrid.
20:55 June 2, 2011 by Sunflowers
@Cuchullain - I have a major problem with dogs being allowed in places where hygiene is meant to be of paramount importance and a dog in a restaurant or anywhere where food is present should not be allowed. It would be interesting and a good thing if the authorities actually looked into this possibility. @marian angela Bio is another possibility that could be causing this... I just fail to understand how they have not been able to pinpoint this yet considering the age of medicine we are living in! Trusting for a breathrough as it is very worrying and so sad for the people who have fallen ill and who have died.
21:07 June 2, 2011 by Ruhetag
WHO says deadly E. coli is new strain?

I give up, who?
21:08 June 2, 2011 by MyOpaWasFromBayern
M O O N, that spells e coli
21:21 June 2, 2011 by marimay
I'm gonna go make a salad now...

lol j/k
21:43 June 2, 2011 by harcourt
It's quite unbelievable that three jokers should butt into a sensible discussion about a serious subject.
21:58 June 2, 2011 by marimay
My apologies, good sir. Where were we.. oh yes. I absolutely detest dog poo in restaurants.
22:31 June 2, 2011 by MyOpaWasFromBayern
I was serious.
22:33 June 2, 2011 by persi26
It looks like all dangerous bacterial strains at very first found is always in germany.. including the deadly tubeculosis in past.. and now.. this one..
22:37 June 2, 2011 by marimay
Hmm, indeed. Quite suspicious I must say. Perhaps the Germans are launching bio terrorism as Harcourt suggested?
01:38 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.
05:05 June 3, 2011 by DepotCat
@byke - If in doubt go and see the quack. That's what they're there for.
08:04 June 3, 2011 by harcourt
BYKE your list of what you consumed in Northern Germany is extremely useful I hope somebody who knows somebody with connections to the investigation reads it and passes it on. I'll translate DepotCat comment for you " If you are worried go and see a doctor "
10:10 June 3, 2011 by DepotCat
@ harcourt - Thanks for the translation.

The headline above reads:

"WHO says deadly E. coli is NEW strain"

And in The Independent there is a report:

"A NEW strain of MRSA has been discovered in British milk...."
10:58 June 3, 2011 by marimay
I don't like the way people do not think about where their food comes from before shoving it down their throats.

Like pigs at a trough.
11:02 June 3, 2011 by harcourt
DepotCat Firstly my translation was for Byke I presume you KNEW what you were saying, and remember writing in this comment slot is for an international audience whose first language may not be english. Which leads me to your mention of two quotes from which you don't make a point except NEW (please qualify) or if there is another it is beyond me even though english IS my first language !!
16:09 June 3, 2011 by crunchy2k
dudes and dudettes, this isn't the first time Mediterranean countries haven't tried to fleece the rest of the world with bad products....remember the italian stink about adding cows blood to color red wine? These farmers are poor and will do a chinese milk protein hijinks to sell their bad product. add a little human waste from the UN concubine and the crop is pure, right?
16:25 June 3, 2011 by harcourt
Getting away from crude predjudice I want to address BYKE hoping that he is still reading these comments: a story in The Local at 14:33 today says:-

Those infected can develop stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting, while severe cases can include haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and kidney failure.

On this diagnoses I think BYKE you should go straight to a doctor !!
16:53 June 3, 2011 by crunchy2k
When I finished a diary of a woman in Berlin at the end of the war 2, she didn't state any diarrhea problems. She only talks about eating nettles from a neighbors garden and sexual assaults from the russians. So is this the new EU or just a problem seen in the USA also that needs to be taken care of?
18:02 June 3, 2011 by harcourt
crunchy2k I think you'd beter go and have a bit of a rest
19:53 June 3, 2011 by STEVENW
Injecting colloidal silver, real colloidal silver, will help or cure if there is no other anti-biotic that will work.

This is a little known anti-biotic that is brushed aside by the medical community because it works and there is no money to be made of it because of its simplicity.

Colloidal silver is the oldest anti-biotic in the World. It is my opinion that it is not used because, if it were used, the population of the World would increase because of the lack of illnesses that could kill.

I am sure that I will get a lot of Medical types that will chime in negatively on this but at the same time....these same medical types have never tried colloidal silver to even make such inane retorts. Try it and then comment.
08:33 June 4, 2011 by CCfromDownUnder
This is for BYKE: there is a chance you have the 'super' strain, but to be sure you should seek medical attention immediately. In the interim, you can do something to help out with the infection.

I had an E.coli Type 01 infection in 2001 (less pathogenic strain than this one) and after many months of re-occuring diarrhea, a loss of 8 kilos and two courses of antibiotics later I was still not quite cured. The thing that polished off the remainder of the bacterial infection was the following recipe:

Take one generous knob of raw ginger, wash it, peel it, and slice it thin, put it into a medium saucepan filled with water and boil vigorously for a minimum of 30 mins or longer if you can. Drink this 'tea' with a little honey, keep drinking it and when you have finished it, reboil and do it again. You can keep reboiling with fresh water for some time until it loses its potency. This is really effective at destroying intestinal bacteria.

Secondly, New Zealand manuka honey has high antibacterial qualities and you can also try taking spoonfuls of this. Be sure to get a 10+ or higher UMF properly certified jar of honey, I know the honey shop in Munich has it, so other places must sell it too.

My undergraduate degree was in Microbiology, so I know that the source of this strain is highly likely to be from the food you ate. It's kind of gross, but somebody who was sick with it probably didn't wash their hands properly and either prepared the food you ate with traces of their own body wastes on their hands, or touched a surface that you later touched and then scratched your nose or touched your own mouth to introduce the pathogen to your own GI tract.

BYKE, as an aside, dude, I know you were travelling, but your diet doesn't sound too healthy. Maybe after this you might want to consider a bit less of the fried food and coke, and some more healthy options. Best of luck, hope you are going to be OK, try the ginger tea it's very effective.
Today's headlines
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.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

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