E. coli probe fixes on restaurant, death toll rises to 22

All but one of the deaths occurred in Germany, the source of the EHEC outbreak.

Last Updated: Jun 06, 2011, 00:47 AM IST

Hamburg (Germany): Investigators searching
for the source of a killer bacteria were attempting to track
supplies made to a north German restaurant, the German media
reported today, as the death toll climbed to 22.

The latest figures from the European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control (ECDC) recorded a further three victims
to the previously confirmed 19.

All but one of the deaths occurred in Germany, the source
of the enterohaemorrhagic E coli (EHEC) outbreak which has
affected 12 countries. The other victim died in Sweden.

Joachim Berger, the owner of the `Kartoffelkeller`
restaurant in the Baltic seaport of Luebeck, told ZDF public
television that health inspectors had carried out tests at the
premises after three separate groups fell ill after eating
there.

Health officials, cited by Berger, said a family, a group
of Danish tourists, and some women tax-inspectors were among
the 17 who ate at his restaurant on May 13 and who contracted
EHEC.

Guests who became ill appeared to have eaten steak and
salad.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper said a 48-year-old woman
tax-inspector later died, while eight remain ill, two of them
critically.

Inspectors had thoroughly examined his kitchens and taken
stool samples from all his employees, Berger said. None of the
staff, who ate the same food as the guests, had been ill, he
added.

Christian Seyfert, a spokesman for the consumer
protection ministry in the region, told a news agency that speculation
about the restaurant`s link to the outbreak was unfounded.

PTI