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German officials confirm human transfer of E.coli infection

A woman working near Frankfurt passed the infection on to about 20 people she prepared food for.

Image: AP Photo/Gero Breloer

GERMANY HEALTH officials have confirmed for the first time that the dangerous E.coli infection has been transferred from person to person.

The officials say that a kitchen worker based near Frankfurt passed the infection on to 20 people she was cooking for, after she ate contaminated sprouts. Germany’s health minister Daniel Bahr told the BBC that the incident would be investigated.

He warned that although the number of new cases of infection is dropping, further deaths are possible.

On Friday, Germany authorities confirmed that the deadly infection had been found in a stream in Frankfurt, but say that there is no danger to the local water supply. Al Jazeera reports that people in the state of Hesse are being advised not to swim in the rivers and streams, and a local sewerage treatment plant is being tested for any possible connection to the contamination.

Thirty-nine people have died and thousands more have become seriously ill as a result of the outbreak.

Germany has been criticised, particularly by Spain, over its handling of the E.coli crisis and for delays in finding the original source of the outbreak. Initially, German officials said it had originated in cucumbers imported from Spain, resulting in millions-worth of the produce being destroyed.

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Then German bean sprouts were blamed and officials finally declared last week that sprouts from a farm in the north of the country were responsible for the outbreak.

Read more: German shortcomings in focus as E.coli outbreak wanes >

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