• Germany's news in English

E. coli death toll hits 30

The Local · 9 Jun 2011, 17:14

Published: 09 Jun 2011 08:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Jun 2011 17:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The latest victim was a 57-year-old man in Frankfurt who last month travelled with his wife to the northern city of Hamburg, an epicentre of the outbreak, authorities in the western city said.

The death of a 68-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were also reported in the northern state of Lower Saxony. The toll is now at least 30, including one woman in Sweden who had recently returned from Germany.

More than 2,800 people were also ill in at least 14 countries with enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) poisoning, which in severe cases can lead to renal failure. Most are women.

Germany had expressed hope Wednesday that the worst of the outbreak was over, with Health Minister Daniel Bahr saying the number of new infections was falling.

Spain's Europe minister meanwhile secured a promise from German officials to make amends for earlier incorrectly blaming Spanish cucumbers for the outbreak by helping to repair the image of the country's produce.

"The German government has agreed to make an effort to improve the image of Spanish produce in Germany," Diego Lopez Garrido said in Berlin after talks with counterpart Werner Hoyer.

"Twenty-five percent of our vegetable exports are to Germany, it is our most important export market. Therefore it is also the duty of the German government to assist us with promotion."

He described as "unfortunate" a false alarm by Hamburg's top health official two weeks ago blaming Spanish cucumbers as a source for the outbreak that prompted an European Union-wide alert, later withdrawn.

"A mistake was made and mistakes remain mistakes but we must move forward together," Lopez Garrido said.

He said Madrid would not sue Hamburg for compensation, and would not get involved in any private lawsuits by Spanish growers, who are losing €225 million ($328 million) per week according to the FEPEX umbrella body.

He described as "not necessarily sufficient" a revised offer from the European Commission for compensation of €210 million for producers across Europe.

Moscow's blanket ban imposed last week on all vegetable imports from the EU was expected to be a point of contention at a two-day summit between Russian and EU leaders in Nizhny Novgorod starting Thursday.

With Russia the largest market for its vegetables, the EU has reacted furiously to the ban, calling for it to be lifted immediately.

A source in the Russian delegation underlined the awkward atmosphere ahead of the talks, describing the EU reaction as "abnormal" and suggesting its diplomats should publicly eat European cucumbers.

The search for the source of the outbreak continued, meanwhile.

Authorities in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt played down the discovery of cucumber pieces with traces of the killer bacteria in the two-week-old rubbish of a Magdeburg family who fell ill.

"According to the information we have now, this is not a decisive lead," a spokesman for the state social affairs ministry told news agency AFP.

Story continues below…

Tests were continuing meanwhile at an organic sprout farm on which suspicion had fallen at the weekend.

Health Minister Bahr said Germany would maintain its warning against eating raw tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and various sprouts until the cause of the contamination was known.

The Robert Koch Institute national health centre said it was not certain whether the drop in new cases was linked to consumers avoiding the blacklisted vegetables.

In a sign that the outbreak was scaring people into avoiding Germany, Britain's rowing team on Wednesday withdrew from the World Cup regatta in Hamburg later this month.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:35 June 9, 2011 by mashlakhito
When such stories make it to the news, common sense and logic flies out the window and irrational behavior starts happening. Why would anyone panic over such over-hyped stories is beyond me.
10:35 June 9, 2011 by antoniodelgado
Why you don't add the adjective "deadly" in articles related to knifes, cars, AIDS, ...? Do you want to send some kind of message to the readers?
10:52 June 9, 2011 by marimay

One makes the decision to get into a car, possess a knife, or have unprotected sex.

I am pretty sure these people didn't choose to potentially die from e-coli. And I am pretty sure that people are not willing to risk getting it, especially since "officials" can not seem to figure out where it came from in the first place. One should not have to play russian roulette with their food, it is a necessity in life.
12:04 June 9, 2011 by DinhoPilot

True... true...

People will always panick about things they cannot control, and it makes sense, cause that's what keeps us alive.
15:37 June 9, 2011 by catjones
Instead of a leaderless, knee jerk , food-panic, the gov should tell consumers what to do with all vegs to remove the virus....wash? mircowave? fry?
16:49 June 9, 2011 by msbeautifool
a work-around is good but finding the root cause is way better.
17:26 June 9, 2011 by Relaxed
No German compensation for Spain or other countries affected by the bungling beaurocrats? First the "system" takes them almost three weeks to announce the e.coli outbreak. Then a stain of e.coli is found in Spanish cucumbers, but NOT the strain which is killing or hospitalising people. Why issue such a crass warning when you know the e.coli in a cucumber is not the strain which is causing the illnesses?

Panic again by Government and State ministers, like after Fukushima? There is a need for a wholesale review of the "integrated" reporting system when such outbreaks occur and a need for more caution in apportioning blame. Yes the authorities need to provide early and quick warnings to the public, but this must be based on facts.
20:33 June 9, 2011 by Bushdiver
Well, it seems to me that the Russians are the only country using their heads considering the widely false info coming from German Health authorities. I wound't believe any reports coming out of Germany as to what has caused this infection or it's origin.
21:39 June 9, 2011 by catjones
This e.coli? Nope, wrong e.coli. This e.coli? Nope, not that e.coli either. How about this e.coli? Nope, still not the right e.coli.

How many 'wrong' e.coli are out there?
03:19 June 10, 2011 by Hibernicus
I'm surprised no one has suggested that this outbreak could be a release from a mutated lab culture either accidental, through stupidity in handling or, more sinister, a deliberate attack on Germany by some hostile force. Bacteria can mutate naturally but it is unlikely that they could gain immunity to a select list of current antibiotics except through constant exposure in a laboratory, triggering an immune response. This merits more serious forensic investigation into the origins of this strain. German people should insist on this avenue of investigation being included as a possibility.
01:38 June 12, 2011 by JMWinPR
I don't see what the problem is. This was all natural organic farming at its best.
Today's headlines
Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

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 towns, 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.

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
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