Pensioner in Hamburg also infected with EHEC
After a six-year-old girl died of an EHEC infection in Hamburg about a week and a half ago, reports of further EHEC cases in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg are causing additional uncertainty among the population.
The EHEC epidemic from last year is still relatively present in most people in Germany and so many are particularly concerned about the latest reports from Hamburg. The death of a six-year-old and the EHEC infections of two other children and a 68-year-old elderly cause considerable uncertainty among the population, even if the authorities warn of panic attacks.
EHEC infections lead to insecurity among the population The EHEC death of the six-year-old girl had already triggered noticeable concern among the population. Presumably also to avoid scaremongering, the health authorities of the Hanseatic city initially spoke of an individual case. However, three more EHEC cases have now become known in Hamburg, which significantly increases fears among the population. An eleven-year-old student from Blankenese and a three-year-old child from Blankenese also fell ill with an infection with pathogens from the genus Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). Furthermore, a 68-year-old elderly woman from Othmarschen was also affected, the Hamburg health authority said on Wednesday. The EHEC expert Professor Doktor Helge Karch from the Institute of Hygiene at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster had pointed out to the news magazine "Der Spiegel" immediately after the death of the six-year-old primary school student that, contrary to what the health authorities had claimed, corresponding EHEC infections did not occur at all Are individual cases and the disease can drag on for weeks, especially in the cold season.
Pathogen of the EHEC epidemic not responsible for the infections in Hamburg The search for the source of infection has been in full swing since the death of the six-year-old student from Blankenese. The results of a laboratory study of the pathogens are also available. It was found that it was not the particularly aggressive EHEC bacteria of strain O104: H4, which triggered the EHEC epidemic last year with almost 4,000 infections and 50 deaths, that were responsible for the death of the little girl. This type of pathogen is particularly dangerous because it causes the so-called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) more often than other EHEC pathogens. The typical symptoms of an EHEC infection, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, are accompanied by further complaints such as internal bleeding (especially in the area of the renal artery), anemia, and an associated poor oxygen supply of the entire organism . Due to the lack of oxygen, HUS patients may also suffer from headaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), concentration problems, chronic fatigue and visual disturbances. If the course is severe, HUS patients face life-threatening kidney failure. But the current EHEC infections in Hamburg apparently do not go back to the particularly dangerous pathogen strain O104: H4.
Is EHEC pathogen at risk? The 68-year-old from Hamburg, who also fell ill with EHEC, was infected more than two weeks ago, according to the authorities. The patient has now overcome her illness and is "already at home again", the health authority said. The eleven-year-old high school student from Blankenese and the three-year-old child from Blankenese are on the road to recovery, according to official information. What is striking about the four EHEC infections that have been detected in Hamburg over the past few weeks is that the three children visited facilities in the Blankenese district and all come from the Altona district. However, the health authorities have so far been unable to explain this. In view of a possible impending spread of the pathogens, hospitals, doctors and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin were informed about the latest EHEC infections in Hamburg and the Blankenese grammar school was closed until Thursday. The classrooms are currently being disinfected there.
EHEC infections no reason to panic Overall, however, the four EHEC infections are no reason to panic, according to the kidney specialist Rolf Stahl from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). The uncertainty in the population due to the EHEC epidemic from last year can be understood, but in itself EHEC infections are an annual recurring phenomenon. Around six to seven children in Hamburg are infected with the EHEC bacteria every year, but in most cases the infection is rather harmless. "You always have to keep in mind that this is an uncommon childhood disease that rarely ends in death," the UKE expert told the dpa news agency. (fp)
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