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Health Officials Rule Out Sprouts As Source Of German E. Coli Outbreak

Health officials in Germany are continuing to search for the source of an E. coli outbreak after tests on suspected sprouts from a farm in the north of the country came back negative, Deutsche Welle reports. The outbreak has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,000 (Hallam/Penfold, 6/6).

“One of the worst features of the German infection has been the large number of people falling ill with HUS [hemolytic-uremic syndrome], which causes kidney failure and death,” the Daily Mirror writes (Swain, 6/7). In addition, ScienceInsider notes that while only a few percent of HUS patients usually show neurological symptoms, about 50 percent in this outbreak are experiencing symptoms such as problems finding words and muscle twitching (Kupferschmidt, 6/6).

Speaking ahead of emergency talks by EU agricultural ministers to address the outbreak and subsequent food import bans instituted by some countries, EU Health Commissioner John Dalli “criticised Germany for rushing out ‘premature conclusions’ about the source of a mass E. coli outbreak, saying such actions spread alarm among the public and damaged the agriculture sector,” according to the Guardian (Dowling/Walker/Gabbatt, 6/7).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.