Michigan Resident Among 4 Americans Sickened in E. Coli Outbreak

A Michigan resident is among four people in the U.S. apparently sickened by a severe E. coli outbreak in Europe, which has killed 22 people, a state health official said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that three of the four people have been hospitalized with kidney failure, a hallmark of the E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 2,200 people.

The person, who recently returned from northern Germany, is recovering in the southeastern portion of the state, Department of Community Health spokeswoman Kelly Niebel told The Detroit News for a story published Monday.

The E. coli outbreak had been linked to tainted organic sprouts produced in northern Germany, but German authorities said Monday that initial tests on the suspected sprouts came back negative. Tests will be carried out on a wider sample of older sprouts and packaging, Die Welt newspaper reported.

Sprouts have been implicated in previous E. coli outbreaks, particularly one in 1996 in Japan, where tainted radish sprouts killed 12 people and sickened thousands.

The current outbreak has been blamed on a highly aggressive, "super-toxic" strain of E. coli. CDC officials said two previous reports of a similar strain have occurred elsewhere. One involved a 29-year-old woman in South Korea, reported in 2006. The other was a small cluster of cases in the Republic of Georgia in 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Click here for more information on E. coli from the CDC.