According to the most recent reports from Berlin, the death toll from the E. coli O104:H4 outbreak in Europe has risen again to at least 30. The latest victim was a 57-year-old man in Frankfurt who travelled with his wife to the northern city of Hamburg where the outbreak struck the hardest. In addition, German officials reported the death of a 68-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman in the northern state of Lower Saxony.
Despite new reports of infections still coming in, adding to the more than 2,800 people who were sickened by E. coli O104:H4, Health Minister Daniel Bahr and other health authorities are hopeful that the worst of the outbreak is now over since the number of new infections has decreased.
Meanwhile, the search for the source of the outbreak continues. Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO), however, say that time is running out for German investigators to find the source of what is now considered to be the world’s deadliest E. coli outbreak. In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Guenael Rodier, the director of communicable diseases at WHO, stated, “If we don’t know the likely culprit in a week’s time, we may never know the cause.”