…and I can’t blame them. The recent and ongoing E. coli outbreak which began in Germany was originally claimed to have been traced to Spanish cucumbers. Erm, not so much:
German agricultural authorities on Sunday identified locally grown bean sprouts as the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak that has killed 22 people and sickened hundreds in Europe.
The Lower Saxony agriculture ministry was sending an alert Sunday warning people to stop eating the sprouts, which are often used in mixed salads, ministry spokesman Gert Hahne told The Associated Press.
“Bean sprouts have been identified as the product that likely caused the outbreak,” Hahne said. “Many restaurants that suffered from an E.coli outbreak had those sprouts delivered.”
Hahne said the sprouts were grown on a farm in Lower Saxony in northern Germany. He did not elaborate but planned a news conference later Sunday.
Hahne said while official test results have not yet conclusively shown that the Lower Saxony-grown sprouts were to blame, “all indications speak to them being” the cause.
Meanwhile, the quality of care is being questioned:
Nicoletta Pabst, 41, told the AP on Saturday that sanitary conditions at the Hamburg-Eppendorf hospital had been horrendous and its emergency room filled with ailing people.
“All of us had diarrhea and there was only one bathroom each for men and women — it was a complete mess,” she said. “If I hadn’t been sick with E. coli by then, I probably would have picked it up over there.”
After waiting three hours to be seen, Pabst was told to go home because her blood levels did not indicate that she had kidney failure. When her symptoms deteriorated sharply, she had to return by ambulance the next morning and was treated for a week at a different hospital.
While this might have been a poor diagnosis, containing the diarrhea patients to one bathroom is what hospitals should do–it’s easier to prevent it from spreading to other patients.
I’ll have more to say about the outbreak tomorrow, but the EU and German public health response to this has been less than stellar at the upper levels.