x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Beansprouts blamed for deadly E coli outbreak in Germany

Hospitals in northern Germany are being overwhelmed as they struggle to provide enough beds and medical care for patients stricken in the outbreak.

HAMBURG // German health authorities say locally-grown beansprouts have been identified as the likely cause of an outbreak of E coli that has killed 18 people and sickened hundreds in Europe.

A spokes man for the Lower Saxony agriculture ministry, Gert Hahne, told the Associated Press the ministry planned to send out an alert late last night, warning people to stay away from eating the sprouts, which are often used in mixed salads.

Hospitals in northern Germany are being overwhelmed as they struggle to provide enough beds and medical care for patients stricken in the outbreak of E coli, the German health minister admitted yesterday.

"The situation in the hospitals is intense," the minister, Daniel Bahr, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that clinics outside of Hamburg and northern Germany, the centre of the E coli outbreak, should start taking in ill persons from the north.

Mr Bahr announced he would visit the University Medical Centre in Hamburg-Eppendorf later to see the situation firsthand and talk to physicians and nurses who have been working overtime and double-shifts for weeks in a row.

Hamburg is the center of the deadliest E coli outbreak in modern history, which has killed at least 18 people since May 2. More than 1,700 people in Germany have been infected, including 520 suffering from a life-threatening complication that can cause kidney failure. Ten other European nations and the US have reported 90 other cases, all but two related to visits in northern Germany.

One E coli survivor, Nicoletta Pabst, 41, told the Associated Press that sanitary conditions at the Hamburg-Eppendorf hospital were horrendous when she arrived with cramps and bloody diaorrhea. She said at least 20 others had a similar condition in the emergency room.