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Nearly 100 New Cases In German E. Coli Outbreak

Tue, 06/07/2011 - 5:26am

(AP) — Germany's national disease control center says a further 94 people have been sickened by the deadliest E.coli outbreak in modern history. The Robert Koch Institute said the number of registered infections in Germany rose to 2,325 Tuesday, with those in other European countries still standing at about 100. These latest figures indicate that the number of new cases is declining — a sign that the epidemic that might have reached its peak. The Institue cautions, however, that it is not certain whether the latest decrease will continue in the coming days.

It said the number of people suffering from a serious complication that may lead to kidney failure among those sickened rose by 12 to 642. The outbreak has killed a total of 22 people across Europe within a month. The European Union health chief warned Germany against premature — and inaccurate — conclusions on the source of contaminated food that have spread fear all over Europe and cost farmers.

EU Health Commissioner John Dalli told the EU parliament in Strasbourg that such public information must be scientifically sound and foolproof before it becomes public. Over the past days Germany first pointed a finger at Spanish cucumbers, then at local sprouts, before backtracking on both. EU farm ministers are convening in an emergency meeting in Luxembourg later today amid demands from farmers that they be paid back for the losses caused by this E. coli outbreak, which has killed 22 and sickened more than 2,330.

Meanwhile, Russia's chief sanitary official told the Interfax news agency that there was progress toward the easing of his country's ban on imports of fresh vegetables from EU nations. Gennady Onishchenko said that European officials had promised to pass on samples of the strain of E. coli, which would help Russia gather information for lifting the ban that was imposed on Thursday. He singled out Denmark's cooperation and said exports from that country could be resumed soon if officials can send more information.

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