- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BERLIN (AP) - The number of people falling sick as a result of E. coli contamination has slowed to a trickle, Germany’s national disease control center said Tuesday, even as the death toll from the outbreak rose by one to 37.

The Robert Koch Institute said a total of 3,235 people in Germany have been reported ill, only seven more than the previous day.

Germany’s health minister has cautioned that even though the outbreak is waning further deaths are possible. The local council in the northern town of Celle said a two-year-old boy died overnight, news agency DAPD reported.

German authorities have narrowed the source of the outbreak to vegetable sprouts from a farm in the north of the country.

Thirty-six people in Germany and one in Sweden have now died in what has been the deadliest outbreak of E. coli ever. The crisis has devastated farmers across Europe as frightened consumers shunned vegetables after German authorities initally advised people against eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.

On Tuesday, the European Union approved a euro210 million ($306 million) compensation package for fruit and vegetable farmers.

EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said the compensation was “an important signal for fresh vegetable growers because I was very keen to show that Europe can react quickly” to the outbreak.

Ciolos initially proposed euro150 million ($219 million) for struggling farmers. But under pressure from big producers like Spain, Italy and France, he had to offer more help.

Authorities are warning consumers against eating any vegetable sprouts until they determine whether the farm received tainted seeds _ meaning other farms could also be affected _ or whether the cause was a hygienic problem at the farm itself.

The disease control center said that 782 of the reported cases in Germany have involved a rare complication that can lead to kidney failure.

The outbreak has been centered squarely on Germany. Just over 100 cases have been reported in other countries _ practically all in people who had traveled to Germany.