• Germany's news in English

Authorities cast doubt on possible E. coli links

AFP · 5 Jun 2011, 09:16

Published: 05 Jun 2011 09:16 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The European Commission said it would send an expert team to Germany to bolster efforts to find the origin of the killer bacteria, as Qatar became the latest country to ban imports of salad items from Germany.

German weekly newspaper Focus reported Saturday that authorities suspected a harbour festival that took place in Hamburg on May 6-8 and drew 1.5 million visitors from Germany and abroad.

But the country's national disease body, the Robert-Koch Institute, said there did not appear to be a connection.

"Press information regarding a link between the E. coli infections and large gatherings does not correspond with the institute's knowledge," German news agency DPA quoted it as saying.

Local media reported that a man in his 50s who died in Brandenberg may be the 20th victim of the bacteria in Europe. But the cause of death was uncertain as he had several infections besides E. coli.

German reports also claimed police were investigating a deliberate act and were checking two restaurants in the northern town of Lubeck, one in which 17 diners fell ill and another in which eight women were affected, one of whom died.

Christian Seyfert, a spokesman for the consumer protection ministry in the region told AFP that speculation about the eateries' link to the outbreak was unfounded.

Germany is facing its biggest epidemic caused by bacteria in recent decades. All but one of the fatalities since the outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) poisoning began last month have occurred in Germany.

A patient who died in Sweden had recently returned from Germany.

Federal Health Minister Daniel Bahr will on Sunday visit the Hamburg hospital where several people died, the government announced Saturday.

Cases of E. coli poisoning have also been reported in Austria, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Each is related to German travel.

Berlin initially blamed the outbreak on cucumbers imported from Spain, provoking a backlash from Madrid which said it would seek damages from Europe for slander.

Tens of thousands of tonnes of Spanish produce went unsold, costing Spanish growers an estimated €200 million ($290 million) a week.

Story continues below…

And countries like Russia and Lebanon banned vegetables from the EU, in moves criticised by the 27-member bloc.

Qatar has banned the import of cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce from both Spain and Germany, state news agency QNA reported Saturday, and "will not hesitate" to ban all vegetables from all European countries if necessary, the agency quoted a health council spokesperson as saying.

To ease tension over heavy trade losses, European agriculture ministers are scheduled to meet in Luxembourg for talks after June 17, according to diplomats.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:51 June 5, 2011 by marian angela
European agriculture ministers are scheduled to meet in Luxembourg for talks after June 17, according to diplomats.

They would really want to get their skates on and clear up this awful mess, stop people dying. Investigate the bio industry and regulate it better.

What about hygiene practices among people that work with food. Maybe they should also look here.

There are so many things to look at. Lets hope it is sorted soon

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