Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bacteria killer: the mystery of the vector of contamination remains unsolved

While the spread of the bacterium Escherichia coli that has killed 19 people in Europe, including 18 in Germany, appears to be stabilizing, the vector of contamination, which particularly affects women, remains unknown. However, the slopes seem to emerge in northern Germany, the epicenter of the contamination, if we are to believe the local press.

In total, nearly 2000 patients were recorded, all cases having a link with Germany. The hebdomadaireFocusévoquait the possibility that the disease has spread at a party in Hamburg, from 6 to 8 May, attracted 1.5 million people. The first case was reported a week later at the university hospital of the city.

According to the regional daily Lübecker Nachrichten, investigators of the river police are also investigating the trail of a restaurant in the city of Lübeck, where 17 customers were eating. Danish tourists and a group of German officials who attended a tax seminar is part of intoxicated people at a dinner May 13, the newspaper reported.

Eight have developed the disease and would have died, says the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which also opts for this hypothesis. This does not mean that the bacteria originated. "The restaurant is not responsible. However the supply chain of food could let us know how the virus spread, "says Werner Solbach, a microbiologist at University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein quoted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Department of Consumer Protection Schleswig Holstein said the information is not "supported by the facts now." "There are different elements in different regional states," he added, without elaborating. The strain of the disease was identified by 'World Health Organization (WHO) as a rare form of bacteria Escherichia coli, "0104: H4.

This strain was already known, but the organization said it would be the first time it is detected at the occasion of an epidemic. Faced with uncertainties, German health authorities still advise against eating certain fresh fruits and vegetables in northern Germany. The European health authorities have sought to reassure Consumers can recalling that the risks could be limited by washing fruits and vegetables and washing hands before preparing meals and to eat.

According to the European reference laboratory for Escherichia coli (EHEC), the analysis does not suggest that vegetables, quickly complained of, are the source of infection. At the diplomatic level, disputes are exacerbated by France, Germany and Spain. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has set up a working group on this issue, met with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero about the impact of the crisis on the Spanish farmers.

Spain, which cucumbers had been incriminated as a first step, has announced its intention to seek compensation in Berlin for the injury to its producers of fruits and vegetables that assess the damages at about 200 million euros week. The German Ambassador in France, Reinhard Schäfers, said that Germany did not compensate producers of Spanish vegetables "We are victims of an epidemic at the moment is what worries us," he said.

While acknowledging that the German authorities had gone "too fast" by criminalizing cucumbers Spanish, he said that caution was necessary in the name of precaution. "We found something on some cucumbers from Spain, is when we warned the public, and that it had to do," he said. "We do have mechanisms at European level for them occupy, "he added, referring to compensation.

The French agriculture minister, Bruno Le Maire, has asked its European partners to "not let down our guard for food safety," adding it would also require compensation for producers of fruits and vegetables French with the European Union.

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