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As of Tuesday, Germany’s national disease control center reported 24 deaths _ 23 in Germany and one in Sweden _ and 2,325 infections in Germany, including 642 patients with a rare complication that may lead to kidney failure. Ten other European countries and the United States have another 100 cases.

The Robert Koch Institute reported a slight decline in the rate of newly reported infections, a sign the epidemic may have reached its peak, but added it was not certain whether that decrease will continue.

Hospitals in northern Germany were still being crushed by the demands of caring for E. coli patients.

A 41-year-old Hamburg lawyer who was hospitalized for more than a week in a separate hospital ward for E. coli cases described a surge in infections.

“When I got there, it wasn’t that full yet, but then more patients came every day,” she told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, speaking on condition of anonymity because she didn’t want her family identified.

Now discharged, she remains quarantined at home.

“People here are very, very much afraid,” she said.


Baetz reported from Berlin. David Rising in Hamburg and Raf Casert in Brussels and contributed to this report.