The first time I blogged about this subject on June 3, 2011 (Deadly E. coli plaguing Germany), this deadly bacteria already claimed the lives of 17 people, with thousands getting sick and counting. Just a little over a week after, the death toll has been confirmed at 33, with most of the fatalities living in Germany
Germany’s food scare has not only strained relations with its European neighbors, but has cost farmers across Europe hundreds of million of euros in lost sales.
After having been under fire for taking so long in their hunt for the source of the lethal contamination, failing to provide the public with palpable information and, even, wrongly accusing the Spanish cucumber as the contaminant medium, German officials have now announced with confidence and certainty the origin of the bacteria outbreak.
“It’s the sprouts,” Reinhard Burger, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, the national disease center, told a news conference on the outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) in northern Germany.
“People who ate sprouts were found to be nine times more likely to have bloody diarrhea or other signs of EHEC infection than those who did not,” he said, citing a study of more than 100 people who fell ill after dining in restaurants.
The German authorities were able to zero in on the vegetable sprouts when they recovered discarded sprouts from the trash bin of two allegedly sick people living in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia that showed evidences tracing to the deadly E. coli bacteria.
The sprouts were later discovered to have been grown at a farm in the northern German village of Bienenbuettel. The farm has been closed and all its products recalled.
“The number of new infections is declining,” Burger told the news conference Friday following announcements of a drop in cases earlier this week.
According to Burger the number of new infections have been declining, and with this positive development, Germany hopes its fresh produce export industry will be back on track again.