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German minister cautiously hopeful E. coli outbreak on way out

06-09-2011 18:38 BJT Special Report:EU Struggles with E. Coli Outbreak |

German health minister Daniel Bahr expressed cautious hope Wednesday for an end to the wave of E. coli infections as authorities reported two more deaths and more than 300 new cases.

"I can't give an all-clear, but after the analysis of the latest data we have reasons for hope, as the number of new infections is continuously dropping," Bahr told local public television ARD before an emergency meeting in Berlin with European Union Health Commissioner John Dalli.

"Unfortunately, there will be new cases and more deaths have to be expected, but overall new infections are clearly going down," he said.

On the same day, Germany's national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said the number of reported cases in Germany had risen by more than 300 to 2,648. Nearly 700 of those affected have been taken to hospital with a serious complication that can cause kidney failure.

The Institute did not fully support Bahr's optimism. It said there was a declining trend in new cases but added it was not clear whether this was because the outbreak was truly waning or because consumers were staying away from the raw vegetables believed to be the source of the E. coli.

The German government has faced increasing criticism from abroad and at home over its dealing with the crisis. It was twice wrong in naming the source of the outbreak and it has been criticized for a lack of coordination between research institutes.

Dalli was quoted by local daily Die Welt as saying, "we have to rely on the experience and expertise across Europe, and even outside Europe."

The Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin also called for a federal government representative to coordinate the various government agencies dealing with the disease to eliminate mixed messages.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CRI

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