According to Todayonline – German vegetable sprouts caused the E coli outbreak that has killed 31 people and made more than 3,000 people ill, investigators announced yesterday after tracking the bacteria from patients in hospital beds to restaurants and then farm fields.
At a news conference here, Mr Reinhard Burger, the head of the Robert Koch Institute – the country’s Disease Control Agency – said the outbreak was “not yet over” because “there will be new cases coming up”.
Doubts about the cause of the illness have blossomed with the authorities first saying the infection came from imported Spanish cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.
After initially warning consumers not to eat those products, the authorities said last weekend that contaminated bean sprouts were the source.
But tests carried out on bean sprout samples produced only negative results. Mr Burger said investigations centring on interviews with patients and even the chefs at restaurants where they had eaten showed that people who had consumed bean sprouts were nine times more likely to become infected than those who had not.
Mr Andreas Hensel, the head of Germany’s Risk Assessment Agency, told the news conference that authorities were no longer urging consumers to avoid cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes. Sprouts should still be avoided, he said.
Germany has been the epicentre of the world’s deadliest known E coli outbreak.
Thirty people have died in Germany, and one in Sweden. The German authorities in the central Kassel region said they were investigating a caterer that delivered food to a birthday party near the town of GoettigeAuthn on May 28 where at least eight people fell ill.
At least two of the sick people had tested positive for E coli and one for the more dangerous complication called haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), said officials.
In Thailand, Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said further tests on imported avocados that had displayed traces of the E coli bacteria have tested negative for the highly toxic E coli O104 strain.
In a statement, he said: “The discovered bacteria can be found in the general environment and does not pose a health hazard, so the authorities allowed imports of avocados.” Agencies