Category Archives: E.coli O104

Research – Sporadic Occurrence of Enteroaggregative Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 Similar to 2011 Outbreak Strain

CDC

Abstract
We describe the recent detection of 3 Shiga toxin–producing enteroaggregative Escherichia coli O104:H4 isolates from patients and 1 from pork in the Netherlands that were genetically highly similar to isolates from the 2011 large-scale outbreak in Europe. Our findings stress the importance of safeguarding food supply production chains to prevent future outbreaks.

Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a zoonotic pathogen that causes illness ranging from mild diarrhea to haemolytic uremic syndrome and death. During 2011, an exceptionally large outbreak caused by serotype O104:H4 STEC occurred in Europe, mainly in Germany and France, that was associated with sprouts grown from imported fenugreek seeds (1). Besides the ability to produce Shiga toxin, specifically stx2a, the strain had the genetic characteristics and phylogenetic backbone of an enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) pathotype (2) but lacked other classical STEC virulence markers eae and hlyA (3). In addition, the outbreak strain carried plasmid-borne blaCTX-M-15 and blaTEM-1 genes. The epidemiologic investigation revealed that a contaminated batch of fenugreek seeds imported into the European Union from Egypt was the most probable source of the pathogen causing the outbreak (4).

After the 2011 outbreak in Germany and France, only a few sporadic cases of infection with Shiga toxin–producing EAEC O104:H4 were reported, most related to travel to Turkey or North Africa (5–8). We describe the sporadic occurrence of Shiga toxin–producing EAEC O104:H4 isolates in the Netherlands, originating from 2 clinical cases from 2019 and 2020 and 1 food isolate from 2017. In addition, we report a clinical case from Austria in 2021.

Research – E. coli O104:H4 is similar to the 2011 outbreak strain found in Europe

Food Safety News

A type of E. coli similar to what caused a large outbreak in 2011 has recently been detected in Europe, according to researchers.

Two cases of Shiga toxin-producing Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) O104:H4 were reported in the Netherlands in 2019 and 2020 and in one food isolate from 2017. There was also a patient from Austria in 2021.

In 2011, a huge outbreak caused by STEC O104:H4 occurred in Europe, mainly Germany and France, that was associated with sprouts grown from fenugreek seeds from Egypt. The outbreak resulted in more than 4,000 infections and 54 deaths from 16 countries, including six cases in the United States.

After this outbreak, only a few sporadic infections with EAEC O104:H4 were reported, most related to travel to Turkey or North Africa, said the study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Research – Effect of citral on the thermal inactivation of Escherichia coli O104:H4 in ground beef

Journal of Food Protection

The objective of the present study was to analyze the combined effect of heat treatment (55 to 62.5 °C) and citral (0 to 3%) on the heat resistance of Escherichia coli O104:H4 inoculated in ground beef. Inoculated meat packages were immersed in a circulating water bath stabilized at 55, 57.5, 60 and 62.5 °C for different times. The surviving microbial cells were counted in tryptic soy agar. A factorial design (4 x 4) was used to analyze the effect and interaction of heat treatment and citral. The results showed that heat and citral promoted E. coli O104:H4 thermal inactivation, suggesting a synergistic effect. At 55 °C, the incorporation of citral at 1, 2 and 3%, decreased D values (control: 42.75 min) by 85, 89, and 91%, respectively ( p < 0.05). Similarly, other evaluated temperatures exhibited a citral concentration-dependent effect ( P < 0.05). In conclusion, the findings could be a valuable tool for the food industry in designing a safe thermal process for inactivating E. coli O104:H4 in ground beef under similar thermal inactivation conditions.

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – VP Beef Meat – Raw Goats Milk Cheese – Minced Beef

European Food Alerts

RASFF

shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O104, stx1- stx2+ eae- /25g) in chilled vacuum-packed beef meat from France in Italy

RASFF

shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in raw goat’s milk cheese from France in Germany

RASFF

shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O 103; stx +, eae + /25g) in minced beef from Belgium in Belgium

Research – Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and food: attribution, characterization, and monitoring

WHO

Strains of pathogenic Escherichia coli that are characterized by their ability to
produce Shiga toxins are referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). STEC
are an important cause of foodborne disease and infections have been associated with a wide range of human clinical illnesses ranging from mild non-bloody
diarrhoea to bloody diarrhoea (BD) and haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
which often includes kidney failure. A high proportion of patients are hospitalized,
some develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and some die.
The Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) has discussed the issue of STEC
in foods since its 45th Session, and at the 47th Session, in November 2015, it was
agreed that it was an important issue to be addressed (REP 16/FH, 2015)2
. To
commence this work, the CCFH requested the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a report compiling
and synthesizing available relevant information, using existing reviews where
possible, on STEC. The CCFH noted that further work on STEC in food, including
the commodities to be focused on, would be determined based on the outputs of
the FAO/WHO consultation.
The information requested by CCFH is divided into three main areas: the global
burden of disease and source attribution; hazard identification and characterization; and monitoring, including the status of the currently available analytical
methods. This report provides an overview of the work undertaken in response to
the request from the CCFH and provides the conclusions and advice of the Expert
Group based on the currently available information.

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – Chilled Beef

RASFF-Logo

RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O104:H4 stx1+, stx2+) in chilled beef from Uruguay in Spain

RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O26 /25g) in chilled beef (tapa de cuadril) from Uruguay in Spain

Information – FDA issues new draft guidance to improve the safety of seeds for sprouting

FDA alfalfa

“Over the past 22 years, the FDA has investigated 50 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contaminated sprouts. Together, these outbreaks resulted in more than an estimated 2,600 cases of illness. Last year, there were two reported outbreaks associated with sprouts, resulting in more than an estimated 100 illnesses. Studies indicate that contaminated seed is the likely source of most sprout-related outbreaks, as this commodity is inherently more susceptible to these issues because they are grown in warm and humid conditions that are favorable for bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. “The FDA is committed to taking swift action to respond to outbreaks related to sprouts and keep our food supply safe, but we also know that measures to prevent issues from happening in the first place are an important element of protecting consumers. By studying outbreaks related to sprouts over the years, we have been able to recommend changes in the industry to help lower the incidence of sprout-related outbreaks. Today’s new draft guidance is another critical step, like the Sprout Safety Alliance or sprout-specific requirements of the Produce Safety Rule, the agency is taking to prevent illnesses related to sprouts.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released a proposed draft guidance, “Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting,” intended to make the sprout seed industry (seed growers, conditioners, packers, holders, suppliers, and distributors) aware of the agency’s serious concerns with the continuing outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of raw and lightly-cooked sprouts.

Incorporating aspects of the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Annex II, Annex for Sprout Production; the International Sprout Growers Association-Institute for Food Safety and Health’s “U.S. Sprout Production Best Practices”; and Good Agricultural Practices, the FDA’s draft guidance issued today provides the agency’s recommendations to firms throughout the production chain of seed for sprouting. It states that if a grower, holder, conditioner, or distributor reasonably believes that its seeds are expected to be used for sprouting, we recommend that the grower, holder, conditioner, or distributor take steps that are reasonably necessary to prevent those seeds from becoming contaminated. We also recommend that firms throughout the supply chain – from seed production and distribution through sprouting – review their current operations related to seeds for sprouting.

During the 60-day comment period for this draft guidance, stakeholders will be able to provide comments on the draft provisions. For more information on this guidance, as well as instructions on how to submit your comments, please visit Draft Guidance for Industry: Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting.

Research -Microbiological Testing Program for E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli: Individual Positive Results for Raw Ground Beef (RGB) and RGB Components

USDA

Table 1. Raw Ground Beef Products (RGB) Analyzed for E. coli O157:H7, Current Calendar Year

Sample Source1 Collection Date Where Collected Product Status Positives this Year Samples Analyzed this Year Total Positives2 Total Samples Analyzed2
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Oct 15, 2018 MN Held 4 9,541 540 238,301
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Oct 9, 2018 NC Held 3 9,297 539 238,057
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Mar 26, 2018 OR Held 2 3,085 538 231,845
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Feb 8, 2018 CA Held 1 1,704 537 230,464

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Microbiological Testing Program for E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli: Individual Positive Results for Raw Ground Beef (RGB) and RGB Components

View by Year:  
2018 Positive Results
2017 Positive Results
2016 Positive Results
2015 Positive Results
2014 Positive Results
2013 Positive Results
2012 Positive Results
2011 Positive Results
2010 Positive Results
2009 Positive Results
2008 Positive Results
2007 Positive Results
2006 Positive Results
2005 Positive Results
2004 Positive Results
2003 Positive Results
2002 Positive Results
2001 Positive Results

The table below includes all positive results as of November 4, 2018.

Table 1. Raw Ground Beef Products (RGB) Analyzed for E. coli O157:H7, Current Calendar Year 

Sample Source1 Collection Date Where Collected Product Status Positives this Year Samples Analyzed this Year Total Positives2 Total Samples Analyzed2
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Oct 15, 2018 MN Held 4 9,541 540 238,301
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Oct 9, 2018 NC Held 3 9,297 539 238,057
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Mar 26, 2018 OR Held 2 3,085 538 231,845
Federal RGB Verification, Beef Feb 8, 2018 CA Held 1 1,704 537 230,464

1Sample Sources may include these types of establishments and samples:

  • Federal (verification; follow-up)
  • Retail (verification; follow-up)
  • State (verification; follow-up)
  • Import (verification; follow-up). For Import samples, the column “Where Collected” is defined as Country of Origin. <!–
  • Source may also refer to the type of product (beef, veal, or mixed), as listed on the product label.
  • –>

2Totals: “Total Positives” and “Total Samples Analyzed” are the totals since FSIS began its testing program to detect E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef on October 17, 1994.


The table below includes all positive results as of November 4, 2018.

Table 2. Raw Ground Beef Components (RGBC) Analyzed for Target STECs, Current Calendar Year3

Sample Source4 Collection Date Target STECs Where Collected Product Status Posi-
tives this Year
Samples Analyzed this Year5 Total Posi-
tives
Total Samples Analyzed6
Trim Verification, Beef Oct 18, 2018 O111 PA Held 19 6,594 415 59,239
Trim Verification, Beef Oct 9, 2018 O157:H7 SD Held 18 6,262 414 58,907
Trim Verification, Beef Sep 5, 2018 O157:H7 PA Held 17 5,641 413 58,286
Trim Verification, Beef Aug 14, 2018 O103 PA Held 16 5,018 412 57,663
Trim Verification, Beef Jun 6, 2018 O157:H7 MO Held 15 3,583 411 56,228
Trim Verification, Veal Jun 6, 2018 O26 PA Held 14 3,428 410 56,073
Follow-up to RGBC Positive, Beef May 30, 2018 O103 PA Held 13 3,266 409 55,911
Follow-up to RGBC Positive, Beef May 29, 2018 O103 PA Held 12 3,266 408 55,911
Trim Verification, Beef May 21, 2018 O157:H7 TX Held 11 3,147 407 55,792
Trim Verification, Beef May 16, 2018 O103 PA Held 10 2,968 406 55,613
Trim Verification, Beef May 15, 2018 O103 NY Held 9 2,968 405 55,613
Trim Verification, Beef May 9, 2018 O103 PA Held 8 2,968 404 55,613
Other RGBC Verification May 9, 2018 O157:H7 NE Held 7 2,968 403 55,613
Trim Verification, Beef Mar  19, 2018 O157:H7 NM Held 6 1,814 402 54,455
Trim Verification, Beef Mar 1, 2018 O121 ID Held 5 1,507 401 54,148
Trim Verification, Veal Feb 27, 2018 O103 WA Held 4 1,347 400 53,988
Follow-up to RGBC Positive, Beef Jan 27, 2018 O45 WI Held 3 583 400 53,225
Other RGBC Verification Jan 4, 2018 O157:H7 SD Held 2 107 399 52,749
Trim Verification, Beef Dec 28, 2017 O157:H7 WI Held 1 107 398 52,749

Holland – Research on pathogens in dairy goat and dairy sheep farms

RIVM 

Synopsis

Animals can carry pathogens that can cause disease in humans (zoonoses). In 2016, the RIVM and the NVWA investigated whether dairy goats and dairy sheep carry such pathogens; sometimes this is also done for livestock farmers, their family members and employees. These pathogens usually cause diarrhoea but sometimes the infections are more severe.

Research shows that a few pathogens occur often on dairy goat and dairy sheep farms. These bacteria reside in the intestines of the animals, and are excreted in manure. A small amount of manure is enough to contaminate raw milk or unpasteurised cheese. Visitors to these farms can also become infected if they come into contact with the animals or their environment. Contamination can be prevented by consuming or processing all milk pasteurized. Visitors can reduce the risk of disease by washing their hands if they have been in contact with the animals or their environment.

STEC and Campylobacter bacteria, in particular, were frequently found. STEC was detected at virtually all the farms that were investigated. Campylobacter was detected at 33 percent of the goat farms and 95.8 percent of the sheep farms. These bacteria were found much less often among the farmers and their family members. Listeria was detected less often: at 8.8 percent of the goat farms and 16.7 percent of the sheep farms, and not among people. However, it is a relevant pathogen since unpasteurised soft cheese is the most important source of Listeria infection in humans.

Salmonella was not found at dairy goat farms but was found at 12.5 percent of the dairy sheep farms. On most farms, only a type of Salmonella that is not transmitted to humans was found. ESBL-producing bacteria, which are insensitive to many antibiotics, were detected at 1.7 percent of the goat farms and 4.2 percent of the sheep farms. They were also found in 6.8 percent of the people. This percentage is not higher than for the general population.

Information – FSA – E.coli Fact Sheet

FSA 

CDC E.coli

Image CDC

 

Escherichia Coli (known as E. coli) is a type of bacteria that can be found in the intestines of animals and humans. Many strains of E. coli are harmless to humans, but some can cause serious illness. Most cases of foodborne illness are caused by a strain known as E. coli O157.