Germany presses to find cause of E.coli outbreak

By the Associated Press | June 4, 2011 | 7:30 AM EDT

A customer buys cucumbers at a market in Moscow, Russia, Friday, June 3, 2011. Russia on Thursday extended a ban on vegetables from Spain and Germany to the entire European Union to try to stop the outbreak spreading east, a move the EU quickly called disproportionate and Italy's farmers denounced as "absurd." No deaths or infections have been reported in Russia. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

BERLIN (AP) — German officials have no firm information yet about the source of a bacterial outbreak that's responsible for at least 18 deaths, so speculation is running high about exactly where people were infected.

Local media were reporting Saturday that 17 persons fell ill with E.coli after they ate at a restaurant in the northern German city of Luebeck. Other papers say experts are investigating whether some people caught the disease at a festival in the northern port of Hamburg last month.

More than 1,700 people in Germany have been sickened, including 520 suffering from a life-threatening complication that can cause kidney failure. It is the deadliest E.coli outbreak in modern history.

Ten other European nations and the U.S. have reported 90 cases, all but two related to visits in northern Germany.