Hospitals in northern Germany struggle to provide enough beds and medical care for patients. Thousands of people infected in Europe. Many struggling to survive. Having had our own American version of this type of Outbreak, we know well the ramifications. Restaurants lost a great deal of money and customers. Vegetable growers lost millions, some went out of business when the CDC started their investigation. We can only pray that we never experience the degree to what Germany and Europe have.
German officials have narrowed the search to an organic sprout farm that served many of the upscale restaurants in Germany. Not so surprising is that even some of those farm workers had been infected by the E Coli. Now the farm has been shut down and all fruits, vegetables and even flowers have been recalled.
In the last 15+ years we have seen more than 3 dozen outbreaks of E Coli that were attributed to sprouts. I thought this was quite interesting itself. Saddest yet is, this strain just seems to be especially unforgiving and deadly, attacking the kidneys and eyesight of the young and strong.
The terrifying E Coli outbreak in Europe appears to have been caused by vegetable sprouts grown in Germany, an agriculture official Sunday as the toll climbed to at least 22 dead and more than 2,200 sickened. Preliminary tests found that bean sprouts and other sprout varieties from an organic farm in the Uelzen area, between the northern cities of Hamburg and Hannover, could be connected to infected people in five German states, Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann said. “There were more and more indications in the last few hours that put the focus on this farm,” Lindemann said at a news conference.
Many restaurants involved in the outbreak had received deliveries of the sprouts, which are often used in salads, Lindemann’s spokesman, Gert Hahne, told The Associated Press.
In recent days, as health officials tried to pinpoint the source of the unusually lethal outbreak, suspicion fell on lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, perhaps from Spain. Spanish farmers complained that the accusations were having a devastating financial effect.
The German farm was shut down Sunday and all of its produce — including fresh herbs, fruits, flowers and potatoes — was recalled. Two of the farm’s employees were also infected with E Coli, Lindemann said. He said 18 different sprout mixtures from the farm were under suspicion — including sprouts of mung beans, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, garlic lentils and radishes. As for how the sprouts became contaminated, Lindemann noted that they are grown with steam in barrels — an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.
He said it is possible that the water had been contaminated with E Coli or that the sprout seeds — purchased in Germany and other countries — already contained the bacteria. He said the farmers had not used any manure, which has been known to cause E Coli outbreaks. Lindemann urged Germans to not eat sprouts until further notice. He said authorities could not yet rule out other possible sources and urged Germans to continue avoiding tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce for now.
*excerpts from Associated Press