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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hi, everybody! I'm Tomeka Jones, and this is the first summer edition of CNN Student News!

Where did E. Coli come from?

JONES: Every week this summer, we'll be doing these special web shows. Today, we're talking about a story we covered toward the end of the school year: an outbreak of E. coli. That's a specific kind of bacteria. You can get it from contaminated food or water, and it can cause some pretty serious health problems.

Officials say this outbreak is limited to an area around one city in Germany. So far, more than 20 people have died from the bacteria. Thousands of people have gotten sick from it. One of the big things officials are trying to figure out is where this E. coli came from. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to explain how scientists do that and what people can do to avoid getting sick.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

Dr. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It can be difficult sometimes to figure out exactly from where this came. You know, this is sort of a real medical investigation. They literally have to trace back from the farm to the fork all the different steps of these different foods.

So, for example, bean sprouts being looked at right now. So far, 23 of 40 samples have come back negative. All that tells you is that, so far, they haven't found it. It doesn't mean that it wasn't there. And I can also tell you that sometimes you never get a clear answer as to exactly from where this bacteria originated.

About 2,200 people infected; 60% of them women. 600 of them also got a very serious complication of this infection called HUS: hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Your blood doesn't clot as well. Your kidneys can start to fail. 70% of the people that developed that were also women. Unclear why that is. It could be that women are eating more of whatever the contaminated food was.

For most people who get this infection, it's going to be a couple of bad days. Stomach cramping, stomach pains. They're not going to need antibiotics. But obviously, in a few people, as you're hearing about, the complications can be more severe.

For the consumer, obviously, washing your hands, washing your food, not cross-contaminating your food: these are the things a consumer can do. But distributors, the manufacturers, the people who are getting this food to your table, they obviously have to take some responsibility here as well, in terms of making sure this food is free of contamination.

(END VIDEO)

E. Coli economic impact

JONES: The German government has been trying to control this outbreak and keep people from getting sick. One way is by putting out a warning about eating some raw vegetables. But that has a big impact on farmers. Fred Pleitgen looks at the economic side of this story.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a painful sight: case after case of ripe tomatoes thrown away. This produce marketer near Berlin says selling tomatoes has become all but impossible since the E. coli outbreak began.

PETRA LACK, PRODUCTION MANAGER, WERDER FRUCHT: "Things are awful at the moment," the manager says. "We hope this won't continue for the whole harvest season. But if the government keeps telling people not to eat lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, nothing will change."

PLEITGEN: German authorities are still warning not to eat those vegetables uncooked, and consumers seem to be heeding that warning. The company near Berlin says at one point, demand for tomatoes dropped to only five percent of what they normally sell.

The folks here say, in total, they are going to have to destroy about 270 tons of tomatoes. That batch alone is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And keep in mind, these are perfectly fine tomatoes. But they simply can't sell them because demand has flatlined.

German authorities still have not found the source of the deadly E. coli strain in northern Germany. Officials believe it may have originated in this sprout farm, but so far, there is no scientific evidence to back that up. Farmers all over Europe are suffering as fearful consumers are staying away from vegetables. At a crisis meeting in Luxembourg, where especially Spain criticized Germany for suggesting its cucumbers might be the source of the bacteria, the EU agreed to pay 150 million Euros in financial aid for the industry.

SÁNDOR FAZEKAS, HUNGARIAN MINISTER FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT: We have to pay compensation for the damages that they have suffered. We need a swift solution, and our commissioner came to our meeting with a set of proposals.

PLEITGEN: Andre Becker would rather see his tomatoes on dinner tables than receive compensation for throwing them away. He oversees this green house, and the prime harvesting season is right now. Like so many others, he wants consumers to know his products are safe.

ANDRE BECKER, HEAD OF PRODUCTION, HAVELIA VEGETABLES: "We work according to strict standards," he says. "We test the water we give to the plants, and we also tested for E. coli. The results were negative."

PLEITGEN: The tomatoes have grown exceptionally well this year. But no matter how beautiful and ripe they may be, the workers here know they will probably go straight from the green house to here, to be thrown away and destroyed. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Werder, Germany.

(END VIDEO)

Promo

JONES: Like we said before, we're doing these special web shows over the summer. But how are you spending your summer break? You can tell us on our blog. Or better yet, send in an iReport. And you can do both of those on our web site: CNNStudentNews.com.

Goodbye

JONES: That's gonna wrap things up for now. You can get more details on the E.coli outbreak or any other headlines at CNN.com. So make sure to check back next week for our next summer show. I'm Tomeka Jones. See ya later! 


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