The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) was involved in another two E. coli outbreaks in the United Kingdom in the final quarter of 2022.
In the first, APHA helped Public Health Wales investigate two human cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O145 linked to a private collection of animals on a smallholding. Multiple species were onsite including cattle, goats, deer, and pigs. Some food consumed by people was grown in the garden where cattle manure was used. Thirty environmental fecal samples were collected but a match to the outbreak strain was not found.
In the second, APHA visited an open farm at the request of an incident management team following an outbreak of E. coli O157 in people. The outbreak strain was detected in one environmental sample from a pig enclosure. The incident is ongoing so it is unclear how many people are sick. The advice was provided to reduce the risk to the public by making improvements to the supervision of animal contact, enhancing handwashing facilities, and improving some animal exhibits.
In all of 2022, APHA was part of five E. coli investigations. The agency helped the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) investigate E. coli O103, O145, and O26 outbreaks between July and September.
The E. coli O26 outbreak also involved cryptosporidium. There were 11 cases of cryptosporidium and two people had confirmed E. coli O26. Cryptosporidium patients had visited an open farm attraction during the incubation period of illness. The E. coli patients had links to the same premises.
The E. coli O103 outbreak with 11 cases was associated with soft, raw milk cheese from a dairy farm in the East of England. Pasteurization was put in place for the production of the soft cheese, HACCP processes were reviewed, and enhanced control measures were taken.
The E. coli O145 outbreak with 10 patients was traced to the consumption of milk products from a dairy farm in North West England, with illness onset from mid-July. Investigations identified an issue with pasteurization and problems with the cleaning and storage of milk crates.