Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

Europe

Germany believes worst of E.coli outbreak is over

Video by Claire PRYDE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-08

Germany announced Wednesday that the number of new E.coli cases in the country had begun to fall, suggesting that the worst of the deadly disease is over. On the same day the EU increased its aid package for affected farmers to 210 million euros.

AFP – Germany expressed hope Wednesday that the "worst" of a killer bacteria outbreak was over as the European Union upped its aid offer to farmers hit by government warnings against eating raw vegetables.

The number of new infections from a highly virulent strain of E. coli bacteria which has left at least 25 people dead and more than 2,600 ill was falling, German Health Minister Daniel Bahr said after crisis talks in Berlin.

             
And in Brussels, the European Commission hiked its offer of compensation to 210 million euros ($307 million) for vegetable producers whose sales have collapsed in the wake of the scare after criticism from affected member states.
             
Amid anger over Berlin's handling of the crisis and ongoing confusion as to its origin, European and German officials huddled in Berlin.
             
The meeting was attended by Bahr, Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, counterparts from Germany's 16 states, public health institute officials and EU health commissioner John Dalli.
             
"We cannot give the all-clear but based on the evaluation of the data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI, the national health centre), there is reason for justified optimism that we have the worst behind us at the national level," Bahr told reporters after the meeting.
             
"For a few days, the number of new infections has continued to drop."
             
He added that Germany, which has seen all but one of the deaths from the lethal strain, would maintain its warning against eating raw tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and sprouts until it finds the origin of the contamination.
             
RKI said it was not certain whether the decline in new cases was linked to consumers avoiding the blacklisted vegetables.
             
Confirmed infections in Germany stood at 2,648 Tuesday in the latest count, with 75 percent of cases in the north of the country.
             
In addition to the 25 deaths in Germany, one woman who had just returned from Germany died in Sweden. But infections have been reported in more than a dozen countries, with symptoms ranging from bloody diarrhoea to, in full-blown cases, kidney failure.
              
In light of the scare, the European Commission had asked EU states Tuesday to earmark 150 million euros in aid for ailing farms but drew immediate criticism that the amount was insufficient to cover the damage to the sector.
             
Tracking the rare, puzzling bacteria
Belgian Agriculture Minister Sabine Laruelle estimated producer losses to be "in the hundreds of millions of euros" after countries such as Russia outlawed vegetable imports and European consumers turned their backs on greens.
             
The Russian ban was expected to figure prominently at a summit meeting Thursday where EU leaders were to renew calls for an immediate about-face.
             
Spanish farmers, angry at their failure to sell their produce, gave away 40 tonnes of fruit and vegetables in protest in Madrid.
             
And the German association of fruit and vegetable growers (BVEO) urged authorities to refine their blanket warning against raw tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers.
             
"A nuanced recommendation from the relevant officials would help keep economic damages in check," it said.
             
After European partners slammed Germany's public health warnings -- including a false alarm over Spanish imported cucumbers -- Dalli defended the country's management of the mysterious outbreak as "impressive".
             
But he said that as long as people were still dying, German authorities and their European partners had to zero in on its cause and called for better coordination between German and foreign experts.
             
"There is a clear sense of urgency," he said. "We need to be able to tell consumers that the food they eat and drink is safe."
             
Lower Saxony agriculture minister Gert Lindemann said experts had not found traces of the bacteria strain at an organic sprout farm on which suspicion had fallen at the weekend but he did not rule it out as the source of the contamination.
             
Aigner told parliament that "there were indications that led back from food eaten by patients to the farm" which meant that a warning not to eat sprouts should remain while investigators checked the whole supply chain.
             
And she reminded deputies that "in 78 to 80 percent of such cases a contaminant is never found" because of the time lapse between contamination and a disease outbreak.

Date created : 2011-06-08

  • HEALTH

    German u-turn on bean sprouts in E.coli outbreak

    Read more

COMMENT(S)