An outbreak of salmonella that has been linked to cucumber in ready-to-eat food has sickened nearly 150 people, hitting the United Kingdom by far the hardest.

Five countries have so far this year reported cases of the illness caused by the same strain of Salmonella enterica. The United Kingdom has had 88 per cent of cases with 129, followed by Finland with 15, then Germany, Denmark and Ireland with one case each.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have identified ready-to-eat meals containing cucumbers as a possible source, but warned as of July 26 it had not been possible to identify the point where contamination occurred. In a joint report the two European agencies said: At present, there is insufficient epidemiological information available on the consumption of contaminated products by humans to support the microbiological evidence provided by the isolation of the outbreak strain in food. “The epidemiological investigations in the other affected countries did not generate any strong hypothesis about the vehicle or source of infection.