June 17, 2011 / 11:17 AM / 8 years ago

1 of 8 French kids ill with burger E.coli gets worse

PARIS (Reuters) - The condition of one of the children infected with a strain of the E.coli bacteria in northern France has deteriorated, Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Friday.

Eight children have been admitted to hospital after eating beef burgers bought frozen from the German discount chain Lidl.

Health officials say the bacteria is not related to the strain of E.coli that has killed 39 people and made 3,000 ill, mostly in Germany, and which was blamed on tainted vegetables.

“One of the children was put on dialysis overnight,” Xavier Bertrand said on Radio Classique. “His condition has worsened.”

Thursday, health authorities in the Nord Pas de Calais region where the infections are concentrated said three of the children had been treated with hemodialysis, a method of cleaning the blood in case of kidney failure.

The children, all aged between 20 months and 8 years, fell ill with symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea. One was discharged from hospital Wednesday.

Health authorities have blamed the contagion on beef burgers sold frozen for distribution under the “Steaks Country” label.

Privately-owned Lidl, which distributes burgers that are produced by French frozen-beef supplier SEB-CERF, has pulled all “Steaks Country” brand burgers from supermarket shelves.

Guy Lamorlette, SEB-CERF’s chief executive, said Thursday that frozen burgers suspected of having infected one of the children came from Germany.

SEB-CERF, which has withdrawn some 10 tonnes of frozen beef products, purchases carcasses from many European countries and health officials have not yet ruled on the origin of the infections.

Lamorlette said he expected the results of analyses on the source of infections within days.

Reporting by Patrick Vignal; Writing by Nick Vinocur; Editing by Dan Williams

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