The CDC has warned American travelers in Germany not to eat fresh tomatoes,… (Nicolas Maeterlinck / AFP…)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an outbreak notice Friday about the deadly and virulent new strain of E. coli sweeping Germany. The notice advises Americans visiting the country, especially northern Germany, to avoid eating raw tomatoes, fresh cucumbers and leafy salads. And anyone who has traveled to Germany and has become ill with bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps or more serious symptoms should immediately see a doctor.
Authorities haven't yet tracked the outbreak to a specific food or cause. Media reports say more than 1,700 have been sickened and 18 have died from what has been identified as a strain of the disease known as E. coli O104:H4, producing Shiga toxin.
The E. coli outbreak has affected food service on at least one airline. American Airlines told customers on its website that it had removed salads and lettuce and tomato garnishes from its menu on flights from Europe and in its lounge facilities. "We are replacing the salad menu items with other menu options to preempt any risk and alleviate concerns," the online notice said.
The CDC notice reiterates what German authorities have been advising travelers and residents about avoiding certain fresh produce since the outbreak began in late May. The notice also says most infections have been reported among people in Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.
Cases of travelers who became ill after visiting northern Germany have been reported in Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Britain. Britain's Daily Mail reports that three Americans who had visited Germany also have become ill.