Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), previously referred to as Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC), are a group of bacteria which can cause gastrointestinal illness in humans.
We undertake enhanced surveillance of E. coli O157 and other STEC in close collaboration with the Scottish E. coli O157/STEC Reference Laboratory (SERL) and NHS board health protection teams.
Data is also integrated with other surveillance systems, in particular ObSurv, the system for the surveillance of all general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease.
In addition to E. coli O157, laboratory and surveillance data is also captured on non-O157 STEC infections which account for around 40% of all STEC infections in Scotland.
- During 2019, there were 150 cases of E. coli O157 and 108 cases of non-O157 STEC reported to us.
- This was a slight decrease on the 156 cases of E. coli O157 and the 110 cases of non-O157 STEC reported in 2018.
- Most isolates were reported in the summer months. This trend is consistent with previous years.
- E. coli O157 and non-O157 STEC infection rates vary across the population, with overall higher rates observed in children under 5 years of age.
- Enhanced surveillance information was available for 91% of cases.