Research – Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Outbreaks in the United States, 2010–2017


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cause illnesses ranging from mild diarrhea to ischemic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); serogroup O157 is the most common cause. We describe the epidemiology and transmission routes for U.S. STEC outbreaks during 2010–2017. Health departments reported 466 STEC outbreaks affecting 4769 persons; 459 outbreaks had a serogroup identified (330 O157, 124 non-O157, 5 both). Among these, 361 (77%) had a known transmission route: 200 foodborne (44% of O157 outbreaks, 41% of non-O157 outbreaks), 87 person-to-person (16%, 24%), 49 animal contact (11%, 9%), 20 water (4%, 5%), and 5 environmental contamination (2%, 0%). The most common food category implicated was vegetable row crops. The distribution of O157 and non-O157 outbreaks varied by age, sex, and severity. A significantly higher percentage of STEC O157 than non-O157 outbreaks were transmitted by beef (p = 0.02). STEC O157 outbreaks also had significantly higher rates of hospitalization and HUS (< 0.001).

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