French E. coli outbreak linked to cucumbers from Belgium

Food Safety News

More than 30 people were sick in France in late 2021 as part of an outbreak traced to contaminated cucumbers.

In September 2021, the Hauts-de-France Regional Health Agency was notified of a suspected foodborne outbreak among students in the Lille area. Two hospitalized children were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a severe complication associated with E. coli infection that causes kidney failure. The agency asked Santé publique France for support in investigating the incident.

In total, 35 cases of gastroenteritis, half of whom had bloody diarrhea and fever, were identified. Ten people were hospitalized.

Identified cases were 29 children in four schools and five elderly adults who received meals through a local delivery program. One case was the parent of a pupil. Five children and one adult had meals delivered to them at home.

The median age of patients was 8 with a range of 4 to 89 years old and almost two thirds were female.

School cafeterias and the meal delivery service were all supplied by the same municipal canteen.

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