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Rosner B.,Robert Koch Institute Abteilung For Infektionsepidemiologie | Bernard H.,Robert Koch Institute Abteilung For Infektionsepidemiologie | Werber D.,Robert Koch Institute Abteilung For Infektionsepidemiologie | Faber M.,Robert Koch Institute Abteilung For Infektionsepidemiologie | And 2 more authors.
Journal fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit | Year: 2011

From May to July 2011 the largest outbreak of infections with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O104:H4 and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) reported to date with more than 3,800 diseased persons and 53 deaths occurred mainly in Northern Germany. Infections predominantly affected adults. This contrasts EHEC gastroenteritis and HUS surveillance data of previous years when mainly children where affected. In relation to disease onset (symptoms of diarrhea) of reported cases, the outbreak began on 8 May 2011, peaked on 22 May, and then subsided. On 26 July 2011, the outbreak was declared to be over by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), because at this point in time new cases that were obviously associated with the outbreak and had a disease onset after 4 July had not been reported in the three previous weeks. Epidemiological studies of the RKI in cooperation with local and state public health authorities and hospitals as well as investigations by food safety authorities identified contaminated sprouts from producer A in Lower Saxony and, more specifically, imported fenugreek seeds used for sprout cultivation as the most likely vehicle of infection. Close cooperation between health and food safety authorities during the outbreak investigation was essential for solving the outbreak within a short timeframe. © 2011 Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL).

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