TEST results will confirm today if the deadly E. coli outbreak which has killed 22 people in Europe has been caused by vegetable sprouts grown on an organic farm in Germany. Preliminary examinations found that bean sprouts and other sprout varieties from a farm in the Uelzen area, between the northern cities of Hamburg and Hannover, could be traced to infections in five German states. "There were more and more indications in the last few hours that put the focus on this farm," Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister
Gert Lindemann said yesterday. German Health Minister Daniel Bahr has admitted the country is struggling to cope with the number of people suffering from E. coli. He said the nation was facing a "tense situation with patient care" adding that some hospitals had been moving patients with less serious illnesses in order to handle the surge of people with the deadly strain of the bacteria. Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. Nicoletta Pabst, a 41-year-old from Hamburg who was admitted to hospital with suspected E. coli, said, "When I arrived, there were at least 20 other people and more kept coming in. All of us had diarrhea and there was only one male and one female toilet." State Health Minister Cornelia Pruefer-Storcks said local officials were looking at ways to prevent a looming shortage of doctors. "We want to discuss with doctors about whether those who recently retired can be reactivated," she said, adding that medical staff in Hamburg are battling exhaustion. The deadly bacteria has made more than 2,000 people ill in 12 countries -- all of whom had been traveling in northern Germany. Sweden has reported over 50 cases, including one death, and around 14 people in the UK are being treated. The World Health Organisation has said the strain is rare and has been seen in humans before, but never in this kind of outbreak.