German E.coli outbreak claims first child victim

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s E.coli outbreak claimed its first child fatality on Tuesday when a two-year-old died from the bacteria in the northern city of Hanover, taking the death toll to 37.

German health authorities have linked the epidemic, the deadliest of its kind in modern history, to contaminated bean sprouts and shoots from a German organic farm sold to consumers and restaurants across the country for eating in salads.

Germany’s main disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said the number of new infections appeared to be on the wane.

More than 3,200 people have so far been taken ill with the E.coli strain, about a quarter of them developing a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which affects the blood, kidneys and nervous system.

While cases have been reported in other countries, all have been traced back to visits to northern Germany and all but one of the fatalities have been in Germany.

The two-year-old child victim, who was not named, had been undergoing treatment for complications caused by the deadly new strain of E.coli at a Hannover hospital, along with the child’s father and two siblings. There was no word on their condition.