The death toll from the E. coli outbreak in Europe rose to 24 from 22 on Tuesday, and the number of sick people in Germany increased to 2,325 as a World Health Organization expert warned time is running out on finding the source of the problem.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control centre, says 23 people have died in Germany and one in Sweden.

Ninety-four more people have been infected in Germany in the deadliest E. coli outbreak in modern history. The number of sick in other European countries remained at about 100.

The institute says the latest figures indicate the number of new cases is declining, a sign the epidemic might have reached its peak.

But the institute cautions it is not certain whether the latest decrease will continue in the coming days. The number of sick people suffering from a serious complication that may lead to kidney failure rose by 12 to 642.

  • Melissa Herzog

    This is so scary. When Lauren and Chris were at Loma Linda with HUS, it was so rare that they would have two cases at the same time.

  • When there are multiple potential vehicles for a pathogen, what is the realistic scientific window to pinpoint the cause? Some memories can get fuzzy in a couple of days as far as remembering what we ate and where we ate it. We have looked at Spanish cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes & sprouts in this outbreak which points to salad bars and it reminds me of the recent outbreak a few years back where we were investigating tomatoes, cilantro & jalapeno peppers which pointed to salsa. We are now almost a month into the timeframe from what is considered to be the epicenter of this outbreak and with the onsite of symptoms being several days the question is: Will we ever truly know, which is a scary situation based on what the results to date are.

  • The fact that non O104:H4 EHECs were isolated from 4 cucumbers indicates that fecal contamination had occurred. I would like to know how many E. coli colonies from each cucumber culture were tested for the O104:H4 serotype. Perhaps if say 50 or more colonies per culture plate were screened, the O104:H4 serotype would have been detected. When I worked at the Public Health Lab in Wisconsin, we had a food-borne outbreak related to contaminated paprika in which 7 different Salmonella serotypes were involved. A similar situation involving dual or even multiple non O157:H7 EHEC contamination of the cucumbers could exist in this outbreak.