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German Health Minister Daniel Bahr wears protective clothes during a visit to a German hospital on Sunday. Focke Strangmann/AP/Press Association Images

Death toll from E. coli outbreak rises to 22 as bean sprouts identified as likely cause

The new figures record a total of 21 deaths in Germany and one in Sweden with health officials saying that bean sprouts grown in Germany were the likely cause of the deadly outbreak.

THE DEATH TOLL from the deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany and other parts of Europe has risen to 22, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention.

The news comes as German health officials said on Sunday that German-grown bean sprouts were likely to have caused the outbreak.

Lower Saxony agriculture ministry spokesman Gert Hahne told The Associated Press that his state was sending an alert warning people to stop eating the sprouts, which are often used in mixed salads.

All but one of the deaths occurred in Germany with the Stockholm-based centre saying that 1,605 cases of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) infection have been recorded and 658 others have the associated condition haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).

The death toll had previously been reported to be 18  with all of the cases in Germany. A further death has occurred in Sweden with a further three cases of people dying from the illness reported, all in Germany.

The centre has published a table breaking down the number of cases and deaths.

Earlier today it was reported that German hospitals were being overwhelmed by the number of cases of E. coli.

Scientists and researchers analysing the source of the outbreak have also suggested it could have come from a restaurant in the northern city of Lübeck where 17 people were reported to have fallen ill with E. coli last month.

Related: Aer Lingus strike ‘could save Ireland from E.coli outbreak’ – HSE >

Related:Eight things you need to know about the new, deadly E.coli outbreak >

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