PHE Investigates Nationwide E.Coli Outbreak
Public Health England are currently investigating a nationwide outbreak of E.coli 0157 which has so far seen 67 cases in England, three in Wales and five in Scotland with an additional 10 secondary cases also being reported.
The outbreak was first declared on 20th October and has resulted in 25 people receiving hospital treatment up until now, though none have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure. Analysis has shown that all the cases have been infected with the same strain of the bacteria but scientists are still searching for a common link.
Dr Bob Adak from Public Health England told Food Safety News, “We have carried out initial investigations which involved interviewing some of the affected people to look for connections that link individuals in terms of the foods that they had eaten and the places they had visited in the days before they became ill. This information is now being used to develop more in-depth investigations designed to identify the cause of the outbreak.” The ages of the patients range between two and 90 with 27 men and 48 women being affected.
The Food Standards Agency Foodborne Disease Strategy 2010-15 has identified E.coli 0157 as one of a number of priority pathogens. It is a relatively new cause of illness, having been first identified in 1982 with the first outbreak in England and Wales being recorded a year later.