France -Pediatric haemolytic uremic syndrome: preventive measures in the face of summer risks

Sante Publique

Each year, during the summer period, an increase in foodborne infections, including paediatric haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), is observed. HUS is a serious infectious disease most often food-borne. In children, this syndrome is most often caused by an infection due to a bacterium belonging to the family of Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) producing toxins, called Shiga-toxins. Public Health France recalls the preventive measures.

In the kitchen

  • Hand washing should be systematic before meal preparation;
  • Meat, and especially minced beef, but also minced meat preparations, must be well cooked through (and not pink or rare);
  • Raw milk, cheeses made from raw milk and dairy products made from raw milk should not be consumed by children under 5 years of age (prefer cooked pressed cheeses (such as Emmental, Comté, Gruyère, Beaufort), processed cheese spreads and pasteurized milk cheeses);
  • Flour-based preparations (pizza/cookie dough/cake/pie/pancake, etc.) should not be eaten raw or undercooked;
  • Vegetables, salads, fruits and aromatic herbs, in particular those which are going to be eaten raw, must be carefully washed before consumption, after peeling if necessary;
  • Raw foods should be kept separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods;
  • Cooked meals and leftover food must be quickly put in the refrigerator and sufficiently reheated before consumption;
  • Kitchen utensils (especially when they have previously been in contact with raw foods such as meat or cheese), as well as work surfaces, must be thoroughly washed to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

During activities and leisure

  • Children should not drink untreated water (well water, river, torrent, etc.) and avoid swallowing it when swimming (lake, river, pond, etc.);
  • Avoid contact of very young children (under 5 years old) with cows, calves, sheep, goats, etc., and their environment; in the event of contact with these animals, hand washing (water and soap) must be systematic before the child puts his fingers to his mouth.

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