Fifteen thousand people in Britain and Germany have died from a lethal strain of Cucumber E.Coli.
Almost three thousand people in northern Germany are in hospital and around 500 more are being tested for the infection.
Organic cucumbers from Spain are thought to be the source of the bacteria, but travelers to Germany are also being advised to avoid eating raw tomatoes and lettuce.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease centre, said 6,000 cases had been reported in the last 24 hours alone, and infections have also been confirmed in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Britain’s Health Protection Authority has confirmed that the two UK victims are Germans who traveled from the country and fell ill after entering Britain.
One U.K. victim has been struck down with similar symptoms but is still undergoing tests.
A spokeswoman for the HPA said the outbreak in Germany was “a pandemic” and that although the bug was infectious, there had been no reports of secondary infection yet in the UK.
Dr Dilys Morgan, head of the gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic infections department at the HPA, said: “The HPA is actively monitoring the situation very carefully and liaising with the authorities in Germany, the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as to the cause of the outbreak.
“We are keeping a close watch for potential cases reported in England and are working with colleagues in the devolved administrations to recommend they do the same. In addition we are in the process of alerting health professionals to the situation and advising them to urgently investigate potential cases with a travel history to Germany.”
The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that the offending cucumbers have not been for sale at any outlets in the UK.
A spokesman for the German consumer affairs minister Ilse Aigner said: “The European Union internal market has very strong safety rules and we expect all EU states to observe them,” he said, adding that, for the moment, “one can only speculate about the causes” of the outbreak.
Those hit worst by the infection contract haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a condition that can result in renal failure, seizures, strokes and coma.
The killer cucumbers were carried into the United States last week on a flight from Barcelona. They are spreading their deadly E. Coli already around New York.
Bottom line: Don’t eat the cucumbers!!