Deadly German E. coli outbreak is over: authorities

26th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

An E.coli outbreak in Germany that killed more than 50 people this year has ended, health authorities said Tuesday.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's national disease control centre, said that the last new case of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) was recorded three weeks ago, which covers the illness's incubation period.

"As the RKI has not had any new infections linked to this outbreak reported since then, the RKI considers the outbreak to be over," it said in a statement.

It said it would continue surveillance for the highly virulent bacteria strain which claimed the lives of 52 people, all but two in Germany, and sickened more than 4,000 people.

The outbreak peaked in late May.

The European Food Safety Agency this month slapped a temporary ban on all seeds and beans from Egypt after it blamed a batch of contaminated fenugreek seeds imported to Germany and then distributed elsewhere for the infections.

The seeds were later used to grow salad sprouts, which most victims had eaten before falling ill.

German authorities had initially pointed to Spanish cucumbers in error, dealing a stinging blow to the country's farming industry at the height of the fresh vegetable season and straining ties between the two countries.

© 2011 AFP

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