LONDON (AP) - Scientists trying to get a grip on a deadly new form of E. coli in Europe have figured out what it is, but not where it came from.
They say it's a new strain that appears to be a mutant form of two different E. coli bacteria. A food expert with the World Health Organization says it has "various characteristics that make it more virulent and toxin-producing."
The new strain is blamed for 18 deaths, and has sickened more than 1,500 others. Nearly all the victims either live in Germany or recently traveled there. German officials are warning people not to eat lettuce, tomatoes or cucumbers.
The origin remains unclear, but that hasn't kept other countries from reacting. Russia has banned all vegetable imports from the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates temporarily banned cucumbers from Spain, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The ban has angered Spain, which says it will demand explanations and reparations.