- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
Germany: E. coli patients continue to rise
BERLIN (AP) - The number of people sickened by a mysterious strain of E. coli in Europe is still rising more than a month after it was first detected, but officials say there are now signs the bacterial outbreak responsible for at least 18 deaths could be slowing.
Since the first case of a patient in Germany detected with the bacteria on May 1, the country's national disease control center reported Friday that there are now 1,733 people in the country who have been sickened, including 520 suffering from a life-threatening complication that can cause kidney failure.
The World Health Organization said that 10 other European nations and the U.S. have reported a total of 90 people sick from the bacteria, all but two of whom had recently visited northern Germany or, in one case, had contact with a visitor from the region.
Though nearly 200 new cases of E. coli infection were reported in Germany in the first two days of June, the Robert Koch Institute disease control center said new infections peaked on May 21 and May 22, and have since then been dropping.
Though it cautioned that what appears to be a downward trend could change if there are new cases that have not yet been reported, there are other signs that the outbreak could be waning.
Kidney specialist Dr. Reinhard Brunkhorst, the president of the German Nephrology Society, told reporters in Hamburg that hospitals are now seeing fewer new infections reported each day, though cautioned that “it may be less, but it’s not over yet.”
“There is no reason for hysteria, because it’s not spreading and it’s not increasing _ it’s decreasing,” he said.
While suspicion has fallen on raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce as the source of the germ, researchers have been unable to pinpoint the food responsible.
The outbreak is considered the third-largest involving E. coli in recent world history, and it is already the deadliest. Twelve people died in a 1996 Japanese outbreak that reportedly sickened more than 9,000, and seven died in a Canadian outbreak in 2000.
Researcher Dag Harmsen at the Muenster University Hospital, which has been closely involved in the investigation of the outbreak, said that scientists were hoping to know enough about the E. coli strain by next week to be able to prevent new infections and better treat patients.
The WHO recommends that to avoid food-borne illnesses, people wash their hands, keep raw meat separate from other foods, thoroughly cook their food, and wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw. Experts also recommend peeling raw fruits and vegetables if possible.
As the number of consumers avoiding vegetables grows, European farmers say they are losing millions of euros every day.
Russia on Thursday extended a ban on vegetables from Spain and Germany to the entire European Union to try to stop the outbreak spreading east, a move the EU quickly called disproportionate and Italy’s farmers denounced as “absurd.” No deaths or infections have been reported in Russia.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday rejected the EU claim, saying that authorities in Russia can’t risk population’s health by allowing EU vegetable imports at a time when the authorities in countries affected have failed to determine the cause of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in a telephone conversation late Thursday to push for EU help for affected farmers, Merkel’s spokesman said.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- James Bond: The spy who is really an alcoholic
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow