• Germany's news in English

E. Coli outbreak prompts public health reforms

The Local · 17 Jun 2011, 08:29

Published: 17 Jun 2011 08:29 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“We need to change the reporting procedures to modern communication standards, so that information on the developing number of patients is more readily available,” he told the Rheinische Post newspaper on Friday, suggesting a more streamlined system of communication in the future.

He spoke as the government tries to learn from criticism of how it handled the major outbreak of E. coli bacteria that killed 39 people – all of them in Germany except one woman who died in Sweden after visiting Germany – and infected more than 3,300 people in 16 countries.

German health bodies came under criticism from compatriots as well as European Union officials during the peak of the health crisis for trying to track the source of the deadly bacteria in what was described as a very disorganised manner, with some records being held on paper rather than the system being completely computerized.

A swathe of ministries and government agencies were involved in fighting and tracking the outbreak. It also emerged that health authorities were sometimes communicating with hospitals and each other via letters in the post rather than electronically and were having trouble tracking who had become ill.

Bahr said he wasn’t sure why important messages were sent through the post but pledged to improve things.

He acknowledged that there was something to learn from the government’s response, but rejected some of the strongest criticism about the crisis management efforts.

“The people rightly criticize the cacophony of speculation that came up from various sides of the world,” he said. “On the other hand there was factually substantiated information from the ministries and technical institutes. The latter is what people expect in order to protect them. Here, a good job was done.”

Story continues below…

Bahr will be discussing his ideas to better track future outbreaks at a conference of German federal and state health authorities at the end of the month.

AFP/DAPD/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:41 June 17, 2011 by Kayak
The poor darlings will have to do it on paper with envelopes and stamps AND by computer and email if they adopt the standards of Information Technology that I'm familiar with. You have to keep the workers in their highly trained stamp-licking roles. Computers? They just make extra work for us!
Today's headlines
Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
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
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd