Germany declares E coli outbreak over after 50 fatalities
Jul 26, 2011, 14:52 GMT
Berlin - The official German health research foundation, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), declared the recent outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of E coli bacteria over on Tuesday.
'The largest EHEC outbreak in Germany has come to an end,' said RKI President Reinhard Burger.
The last infection connected with the pathogen was reported three weeks ago, which covers the incubation time (from diagnosis to transferral) of the enterohemorrhagic E coli (EHEC).
Since the first known cases of the outbreak in mid-May 2011 in the northern port of Hamburg, there have been 3,469 confirmed cases of EHEC reported to the institute. Though not all of those affected became ill, many others were admitted to hospital with diarrhoea, stomach aches and nausea.
Some 852 patients came down with the severe complication of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure. Fifty people ultimately died in Germany from EHEC or HUS.
The institute said it will intensively monitor EHEC O104:H4 (which caused the latest outbreak) as well as other strains.
The researchers speculate that in the future due to the higher awareness of EHEC and HUS there will be more reports of infections than before.
Individual cases of the HUS/EHEC infections are also possible after the end of an outbreak, RKI stated.