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Germany E. coli Outbreak Linked to Sprouts

Update: Sprouts from an organic farm in Uelzen, south of Hamburg, are now suspected as the source of the E. coli outbreak in Germany, officials from the state of Lower Saxony announced at a news conference Sunday.

Results of lab tests will be available Monday, Gert Lindemann, the state’s agriculture minister, told reporters.

Lindemann advised Germans not to eat sprouts, but also to continue to avoid raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce until the source is confirmed.

As of Sunday, the number of illnesses associated with the outbreak was said to be more than 2,200, with 22 deaths, making it the deadliest E. coli outbreak on record.

Earlier press reports this weekend speculated that the onset of the outbreak might be linked to a festival last month in Hamburg, which was attended by about 1.5 million people. However, officials with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were quoted as saying they were unaware of any connection between the outbreak and a large public gathering. 

Health authorities were also said to be investigating the suppliers of two restaurants in the city of Lubeck, near Hamburg, where several case patients were said to have eaten. 

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Photo from Hamburg by Gretchen Goetz

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