Health authorities in Germany are battling an outbreak of a dangerous strain of E-Coli.
So far three people are believed to have died. Of the 400 other suspected cases, some patients are very seriously ill.
Experts said the current rate of infection is higher than ever previously recorded. Furthermore, this strain – EHEC – is not following normal patterns.
“Normally, the food that causes EHEC is milk and milk products, unpasteurised cheese, raw hamburger meat, all kinds of raw meat,” said Werner Wunderle, director of the Bremen Health Authority.
“This time, we can say with certainty, that they are NOT the cause. We think that raw vegetables and salads have been contaminated. But I must stress, that if you cook or steam your vegetables, you are safe.”
Laboratory tests show the current strain is particularly resistant to antibiotics.
People in Germany are being advised to wash fruit and vegetables carefully and seek immediate medical advice should they show symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea.