Europe's E. coli death toll at least 44

June 24, 2011

(AP) -- Germany has reported another death in Europe's E. coli outbreak, bringing the toll to at least 44.

The national disease control center said Friday that 43 deaths have now been reported in Germany, the outbreak's epicenter. Another person has died in Sweden.

In its own update Friday, the included a further death in the United States. However, it cautioned - as U.S. officials also have - that it isn't yet confirmed that the Arizona man, who had visited Germany and died in mid-June, was sickened by the same bacteria strain.

Although the death toll is still rising, the number of new infections peaked on May 22 and has declined significantly over the past two weeks.

The Robert Koch Institute, the disease control center, says 3,717 people have been reported sick in Germany, including 827 suffering from a complication that can lead to .

Another 119 cases have been reported in a total of 15 other countries. The fact that overall numbers are continuing to rise is largely due to delays in notification, the WHO said.

The source of the bacteria has been traced to a sprout farm in northern Germany. Officials still don't know how the sprouts were contaminated.

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