News sources were reporting Tuesday that the E. coli O104:H4 outbreak that killed as many as 50 people and sickened thousands has ended. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German public health body, informed the public that the last reported case occurred three weeks ago.
According to an article by the Associated Foreign Press, RKI issued a statement saying, “As the RKI has not had any new infections linked to this outbreak reported since then, the RKI considers the outbreak to be over.”
Although health officials in Germany believe that they are finally in the clear, they will continue to monitor for any additional reports of illness caused by the bacteria.
In its latest update on the E. coli outbreak in Europe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported Tuesday that its case count stands at 3,900 illnesses, including 781 with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and 46 deaths. An Arizona man who had traveled in Germany also died from an O104:H4 infection.
The ECDC totals include confirmed and probable cases. The agency does not include another 120 cases of HUS and four deaths that are suspected as being part of the outbreak, which has been linked to consumption of raw, organic sprouts grown from contaminated fenugreek seeds.
The last known date of illness onset in a patient with a confirmed E. coli O104:H4 infection was July 7, the ECDC said.
Image of E. coli O104:H4 from the Robert Koch Institute© Food Safety News