Germany has set up a national task-force to fight the spread of the E. coli food-poisoning outbreak, stepping up the pace to track down the source of the contamination.
At least 17 people have died from the bacterial infection and more than 1,700 have fallen ill. Germany’s disease control centre reported 199 new cases over the last two days alone.
One German victim, Nicola Papst, who has now recovered, said it was a terrible experience: “I had abdominal cramps and with the slightest movement I had to go to the toilet straight away. But I was only passing blood. And apparently I was completely unaware of what was going on around me. I was disoriented in terms of space and time. It was like being half asleep all the time.”
E. coli bacteria are normally harmless in the human gut, but this strain produces a toxin that can lead to problems with the kidneys and red-blood cells.
The majority of cases are in Germany, but 10 other European countries and the US have also been affected.