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Video: Organic sprouts behind deadly E. coli outbreak?

  1. Closed captioning of: Organic sprouts behind deadly E. coli outbreak?

    >>> german health officials are now focusing on bean sprouts as the possible source of that deadly e. coli outbreak. michelle kosinski with the very latest. good morning.

    >> reporter: hi, natalie. it's been like e. coli csi. one of the big mysteries, why are the victims so young, healthy, highly educated, affluent? if this is the source of the mutant, highly toxic strain of e. coli , which some officials feel it is, it's an organic sprout farm that served nice restaurants all over northern germany . hamburg has been the epicenter of the deadliest known e. coli outbreak, but now state health ministers say this beautiful farm 50 miles south is looking like the source. they say sprouts grown here, several types, went to a number of upscale restaurants and markets where people ate before becoming violently ill. reportedly some farm workers also got sick. now it's shut down and all it's produce, herbs, fruit, flowers, recalled.

    >> translator: in our opinion, this is the most convincing trail.

    >> reporter: 21-year-old student, the bacteria attacking her kidneys and eyesight, every day must have all of her blood plasma replaced.

    >> when i was getting sicker and sicker --

    >> reporter: she says the only thing she ate that her family didn't is strawberries. this is still a mystery and almost all the victims, young and strong. doctors have never seen anything like it. what we have seen, more than three dozen times since 1995 , are bacterial outbreaks linked to sprouts. one in japan in 1996 sickened 9,000 people, killed 17. the cdc and fda then issued warnings in the u.s. not to eat raw sprouts. for children, the elderly and people with weakened immunity. turns out the highly nushtritious greens is produced every year in the u.s. can be a perfect bacteria breeding ground. scientists say because of the nutrients, moisture and heat they contain. often the contamination is in the seeds they grow from. if test results today show the deadly e. coli is here, then this outbreak can finally end. some of the tests done on this farm have come back negative. if you're worried about sprouts, health officials say, look, the vast majority of food borne illness comes from animal products . still, the fda saw fit just in the last year and the year before to again warn people about the risks. natalie?

    >> michelle kosinski in germany, thanks so much.


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