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After the EHEC wave: hygiene is more important for Germans today
Over 5000 people had contracted the mutated form of the EHEC bacterium in Germany. 50 people have died of the resulting infectious disease. The Robert Koch Institute in Berlin has now issued an official all-clear. There is currently no acute danger from the germ. According to a survey by the opinion and research institute YouGov, a good 40 percent of Germans have been paying more attention to active hygiene since the wave of infections.
No new illnesses with the dangerous EHEC bacteria have been reported for a good four weeks. According to the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, the epidemic peaked in June. The wave of new cases is now over, the all-clear for the top health institute. No new infection has become known since the beginning of July 2011. However, it cannot be ruled out that infections with the EHEC pathogen can still occur after the all-clear, a spokesman for the RKI emphasized. According to the authorities, almost 4,000 people were infected with the aggressive germ. Doctors could no longer save 50 patients' lives. They died of the consequences of the EHEC symptoms.
Hygiene is again the focus
The EHEC wave has now prompted German citizens to deal more with the topic of hygiene in their own living space. After all, simple measures like washing your hands properly or boiling food can prevent infection. According to the results of the representative survey study by the polling institute "YouGov", a good 40 percent of Germans are more concerned about hygiene measures. Almost 50 percent said they have washed their hands more intensely since the swine flu and the EHEC disease wave. Over 1,000 people of different ages and genders participated in the survey. When washing hands properly, it is important to clean the palms of the hands and the spaces between fingers with commercially available soap. Hand washing should be done thoroughly and at least 30 seconds. The most important thing is only to wash your hands before eating, but before you prepare the food. Furthermore, hand washing should not be missing after every toilet. It is important not to wash your hands just once, but several times a day. Professor Reinhard Burger, President of the RKI Institute, said: "Personal hygiene must be strictly observed. This includes hand hygiene, toilet hygiene and kitchen hygiene.
Meanwhile, scientists from the University Hospital of Münster (UKM) and Prof. Helge Karch from the Institute of Hygiene at the UKM have confirmed that the EHEC germ is a so-called hybrid clone that combines the properties of various pathogens. In this context, the World Health Organization spoke of a mutation. (sb)
Symptoms of an EHEC infection
First deaths from EHEC infections
No antibiotic at EHEC
Mysterious infections caused by EHEC pathogens
EHEC causes: On the trail of the pathogen
Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio.de