E.coli epidemic in Germany is waning.

Additional evidence continues to implicate E.coli contaminated vegetable sprouts as the source of the large epidemic of food poisoning in northern Germany. A discarded bag of sprouts found in the trash of a family with two members who became ill has been found to contain this rare E.coli strain. The source of the vegetable sprouts has been traced to an organic farm in Lower Saxony in northern Germany.

Although the peak of the epidemic appears to have passed, there may still be additional cases and deaths detected since the exposure of the population took place over a period of time, and the incubation period will be somewhat variable in duration. To date, approximately 3,255 cases have been recorded, of whom 812 have the life threatening complication of haemolytic uremic syndrome. There have been 35 deaths. Cases have been detected in 14 European countries and the United States and Canada, but all but five cases were in people who lived or had visited Germany.

Although the ban on eating salads has been lifted, travellers to northern Germany should still avoid consuming any vegetable sprouts until the epidemic is declared to be over. Travellers should also be aware that hospital care services, especially for persons with kidney conditions, are currently overwhelmed with the number of seriously ill persons due to this epidemic.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Food and Water Contamination.

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