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Germany says sprouts are cause of E. coli outbreak

Written by kumaran   // June 10, 2011   // Comments Off


They’ve been blamed before, but this time, Germany’s investigators feel quite certain that contaminated vegetable sprouts from a local farm caused Europe’s current E. coli outbreak, the deadliest ever recorded.

“It is the sprouts,” asserted Reinhard Burger, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, which is Germany’s national disease control centre. Burger said the outbreak, which has killed 29 and sickened nearly 3,000 — including at least one Canadian — is believed to have started on a small organic vegetable farm in Lower Saxony that first came under suspicion last weekend.

The farm was initially blamed for the outbreak on Sunday, but authorities backpedalled the following day, after lab tests for the particular E. coli strain behind the outbreak came back negative.

Tests of the sprouts are still negative, but investigators have closely studied the outbreak pattern and say there is enough evidence to conclude that the sprouts were to blame, Burger explained.

“People who ate sprouts were found to be nine times more likely to have bloody diarrhea or other signs of EHEC (enterohaemorrhagic E. coli) infection than those who did not,” he said Friday at a joint press conference with heads of Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and Federal Office for Consumer Protection.

“In this way, it was possible to narrow down epidemiologically the cause of the outbreak of the illness to the consumption of sprouts.” [Read More]

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