National E. coli outbreak investigated

| November 12, 2014

E. coli on platePublic Health England (PHE) is currently investigating a national outbreak of Escherichia coli infection that has so far affected more than 80 people in England Scotland and Wales. The source of the outbreak has yet to be identified.

To date, 75 primary cases of infection with the same outbreak strain of E. coli have been identified (67 in England, 3 in Wales and 5 in Scotland). At least 10 secondary cases caused by contact with a primary case have also been reported and 25 people have required hospital treatment.

The PHE news release does not identify the type of E. coli involved, but since 58 people reported bloody diarrhoea, it seems likely that it is a verocytotoxin-producing (VTEC) strain such as O157. However, no cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) have yet been reported.

The source of the outbreak is currently being investigated and the investigation is focusing on the foods consumed by those affected to try and identify any links. The widespread distribution of cases suggests a single foodborne source.

The PHE statement can be found here.

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