Doctors are advising Singaporeans to avoid raw food for now, following the E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 18 people. The bacteria is commonly transmitted via contaminated raw food and sometimes through contaminated water. It can also be transmitted from person to person.
Singaporeans travelling to Germany should avoid eating raw tomatoes and leafy vegetables like lettuce and cucumbers, says Dr Douglas Chan, Associate Consultant at the National University Hospital’s Division of Microbiology. Symptoms of E. coli infection include abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea. When it comes to food preparation, doctors say raw and cooked food should be separated to reduce contamination. They advise eating cooked food as it means the bacteria is killed before consumption.
Associate Professor Leo Yee Sin, head of Department of Infectious Diseases at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said: “It is a personal choice whether this person will take up a salad or raw food, but I would strongly suggest that at this moment in time when the situation is less clear, it’s good to avoid raw food or food that you really do not know the source, whether or not it could potentially be contaminated, unclean or poorly prepared.”