E. coli outbreak in cucumbers has already killed 15 people in Europe.

One of the biggest E. coli outbreaks of its kind linked to cucumbers has made more than 1,000 people very sick in Germany as well as people from Spain, Sweden, Britain, Denmark, France and the Netherlands who had recently visited the country.

The E. coli pathogen has been identified on cucumbers imported from Spain but it is unclear if they were contaminated there, during transport or in Germany.

It is also causing diplomatic tension between Germany and countries such as Spain, France and Russia. Most of the deaths have been in northern Germany.

The outbreak of E. coli-caused hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of a type of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) is the biggest ever of its kind in Germany and globally, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a risk assessment.

German authorities have warned consumers to avoid eating raw cucumbers, lettuces and tomatoes and have removed some products from store shelves.