Health experts say a virulent new strain of E.Coli bacteria that has so far killed 18 people, may be the deadliest in human history.
Over 2000 people have fallen victim, 1500 of them in Germany. Cases have now been diagnosed in the United States.
All became ill after eating contaminated vegetables and salads.
So far this particular strain of E.Coli has not responded to any kind of antibiotics.
Professor Klaus Stark of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin said,
“In this case we can definitely talk about an epidemic. It is an absolutely unexpected appearance of a huge number of infections which we’ve never seen in Germany before.”
The outbreak is affecting trade relations, with Russia banning imports from the EU, accusing Brussels of failing to adequately handle the crisis. Millions of euros worth of exports have been lost.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich made no apology,
“It’s a serious precedent and obviously any government would want to protect its market so that it wouldn’t get these kinds of presents, these cucumbers.”
Germany originally blamed imports of cucumbers from Spain for the problem but later withdrew the accusation and apologised to Madrid.
On Thursday angry farmers in Valencia dumped vegetables outside the German Consulate. Spain is threatening legal action over the crisis. It’s demanding compensation for its growers who say lost sales are costing them 200 million euros a week and could threaten up to 70 000 jobs.