Thursday, 12th of July 2011
E-coli outbreak & trip to Germany
You went to Germany (Boppard) with your school from June 12-17, and we took the opportunity to spend a few days in Berlin. What a great place it is in the Summer, much nicer than in Winter! Great for cycling around. I recommend it, the East Side gallery, cycling along the river(s) – where it splits into canals. Going up Alexanderplatz. We even met a couple of our friends who are living there right now…
Before you went there was a big E.coli outbreak in Germany, people were dying from it in large numbers and no one was sure where it was coming from. It started with cucumbers and ended with bean sprouts, in the Hamburg area. I was worried about letting you go, but as this was linked to vegetables, I didn’t see it as much of a problem for a bunch of teenagers who would touch sprouts/cucumbers/raw vegetables. Off you went. You had a good time and fortunately this time you didn’t come back saying you wanted to go and live with your friends, like you did last year!
News compilation from the time of outbreak:
European scientists are scrambling to find the source of the E.coli outbreak in Germany that has infected more than 2,400 people and killed 23 of them.
The German outbreak is caused by the rare strain of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli known as STEC O104:H4. It appears to be the deadliest outbreak of E.coli ever seen, with a third of patients developing the severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which frequently leads to kidney failure and can result in death.
The first tests on bean sprouts from a northern German farm suspected of being the source of an E. coli outbreak are negative, officials say.Of 40 samples from the farm being examined, officials said 23 tested negative. Further tests are pending.
Initially, German officials had pointed to Spanish cucumbers as the likely cause. More than 2,200 people have fallen ill in at least 12 countries, though cases outside Germany have been linked to travel there.
The organic farm in Uelzen is about 100km (62m) south of Hamburg, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Scientists say it is an aggressive hybrid strain toxic to humans and not previously linked to food poisoning.
Hundreds of those affected by the bacterium have developed haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS), which can be fatal.
Spain has made it clear it will seek damages after Spanish produce was linked to the outbreak.
Spain’s fruit and vegetables exporters association has estimated losses at 225m euros (£200m) a week.