Category Archives: Shigatoxin

Research – Whole-Genome Sequencing of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli for Characterization and Outbreak Investigation



Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes high frequencies of foodborne infections worldwide and has been linked to numerous outbreaks each year. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) has been the gold standard for surveillance until the recent transition to whole-genome sequencing (WGS). To further understand the genetic diversity and relatedness of outbreak isolates, a retrospective analysis of 510 clinical STEC isolates was conducted. Among the 34 STEC serogroups represented, most (59.6%) belonged to the predominant six non-O157 serogroups. Core genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis differentiated clusters of isolates with similar PFGE patterns and multilocus sequence types (STs). One serogroup O26 outbreak strain and another non-typeable (NT) strain, for instance, were identical by PFGE and clustered together by MLST; however, both were distantly related in the SNP analysis. In contrast, six outbreak-associated serogroup O5 strains clustered with five ST-175 serogroup O5 isolates, which were not part of the same outbreak as determined by PFGE. The use of high-quality SNP analyses enhanced the discrimination of these O5 outbreak strains into a single cluster. In all, this study demonstrates how public health laboratories can more rapidly use WGS and phylogenetics to identify related strains during outbreak investigations while simultaneously uncovering important genetic attributes that can inform treatment practices.

Research – Report of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) on the prospection of biological ha-zards of interest in food safety in Spain (2)


This report addresses the prospection of biological hazards for some types of food that may pose a risk to the population and that are not currently included in the official control programs in Spain.

It completes and updates the 2018 report by the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN, 2018). A number of bacteria that are significant contributors to nosocomial infections due to the increase in the number of multi-resistant strains of Acinetobacter spp. ,Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are listed first.

It is also addressed the study of the prevalence and possible control of Bacillus cereus and Cronobacter spp. presence in cereal flours and others, the revision of Campylobacter jejuni and/or Campylobacter coli in meats other than poultry, as well as the study of Shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli. These latter two biological agents are much better known from the food control perspective, although there are control measures for Campylobacter spp. in poultry meat and not in other types of meat such as beef or pork and in the case of E. coli, producers of Shiga toxins, the control of this particular type of pathogenic strains in food has not been specifically addressed either.

Finally, tick-borne viral encephalitis, which can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of raw milk or raw dairy products, has been indicated as a viral hazard. The prospective study shows the need to determine the prevalence of multi-resistant bacteria of Acinetobacter baumannii, K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa in foods in Spain, especially in ready-to-eat foods such as salads and fresh plant-based foods. This is especially important due to the lack of data on the prevalence of these bacteria in foods in Spain. However, food research is carried out in neighbouring countries.

It is also necessary to include C. jejuni and/or C. coli in the investigations of beef and pork, since the incidence of these foodborne pathogens in humans is not explained solely by the presence of these agents in poultry meat, being their presence in other animals for slaughter also evident. Similarly, outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli have been reported in Spain over the last 25 years, which makes it advisable to control them in beef, raw milk and leafy vegetables.

With regard to Cronobacter spp. and B. cereus, the importance of these agents can be demonstrated given their survival in powdery materials such as flours of different origins, including cereals, although the reported outbreaks do not seem to indicate a high prevalence. As regards the only viral hazard mentioned, it should be noted that the wide dispersion of the ticks that can transmit this virus, together with the potential consumption of raw milk, makes it advisable to investigate it in raw milk products.

However, the study of the actual infective capacity of this virus is not easy to establish with simple analytical methods. With this last exception, research for controlling all these biological hazards in food is possible, with classical or advanced methodologies that are robust enough, available for each case.

Research – Germs in flour: pathogens in wheat, spelled and rye flour

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Critical germs not uncommon, 2020 showed according to the Zoonosen-Monitoring of the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety Food inspectors in Germany found germs from the group of Shiga toxin-forming Escherichia coli (Stec) in 22 of 242 wheat flour samples. Very specific Stec – Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, EHC for short – can cause, for example, gastrointestinal problems with diarrhea or the haemolytic-uraemic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure or blood clotting disorders in sensitive people such as small children.

Research – Outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the EU/EEA and the United Kingdom among travellers returning from Cabo Verde


As of 16 February 2023, 10 EU/EEA countries and the UK reported and the US reported 221 confirmed Shigella sonnei infections and 37 possible cases, all with a link to Cabo Verde.

Information on possible ways of infection or common exposure have not yet been identified but investigations are ongoing in Cabo Verde. Multiple modes of transmission are plausible, and the most likely way is through food, including via infected food handlers. However, person-to-person transmission is also possible.

The S. sonnei strain in the current outbreak indicates predicted resistance to trimethoprim and streptomycin but in some cases, multidrug resistance has also been detected.

Based on the available information, many cases are reported to have stayed in all-inclusive hotels located in the region of Santa Maria on the island of Sal. The most recent cases were reported in Sweden on 19 January 2023, suggesting an ongoing moderate risk of new infections among travellers to Cabo Verde, particularly among those staying in the region of Santa Maria on the Island of Sal.

Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal infection caused by one of four species of Shigella bacteria: Shigella sonnei, S. flexneri, S. boydii and S. dysenteriae. Humans are the primary reservoirs for Shigella.

Shigellosis is caught by oral contact with material contaminated by faeces, either through direct person-to-person contact, via contaminated food or water, or via objects which have been in contact with faeces. The necessary dose for infection is small, which increases transmissibility.

Food-related outbreaks are often caused by infected food handlers, who contaminate ready-to-eat food items like salads. Waterborne infection can occur if drinking or recreational water is contaminated with faeces from an infected person.

Handwashing with soap and water is important, especially after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food. Additional care with food and drinking water when travelling abroad is also important. There is no vaccine currently available to prevent Shigella infection.

People with shigellosis should not attend school, handle food, or provide child or patient care whilst ill. Children under the age of five, food handlers, and healthcare staff should stay at home for 48 hours after their symptoms have ceased.

ECDC encourages public health authorities in the EU/EEA to increase awareness among healthcare professionals on the possibility of Shigella infections among people that recently travelled to Cabo Verde.

Together with WHO/Europe, ECDC is in regular contact with authorities in Cabo Verde to support investigations on the sources of infection and to increase awareness among healthcare professionals in the country.

USA – Shigella outbreak climbs to 32 cases linked to Seattle restaurant

Outbreak News Today

Shigella - kswfoodworld

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In a follow-up on the outbreak of Shigellosis associated with Tamarind Tree Restaurant in Seattle, Public Health – Seattle & King County now reports 32 people reported becoming ill after eating food at the restaurant in mid-January.

Ten of the 32 people who became ill tested positive for Shigella. Six cases have confirmatory testing indicating Shigella sonnei, a species of Shigella. Symptoms among those who did not get tested are suggestive of a Shigella infection.

At this time, no employees have tested positive for Shigella.

Investigators closed the restaurant during their visit on January 24, 2023. The restaurant was required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection. On February 7, Environmental Health investigators revisited the restaurant to confirm proper cleaning and disinfection, and the restaurant reopened that day.

Finland joins countries with travel-related Shigella cases

Food Safety News

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Finland is the latest country to report Shigella infections in people returning from Cape Verde.

The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) recorded eight patients with shigellosis in November and December 2022, with a history of travel to Cape Verde.

Based on typing, the strains in five of these cases match those found in other European countries. Almost all Shigella infections found in Finland originate from abroad.

During 2022, more travel-related shigellosis cases than usual were recorded in several European countries. Patients are linked by trips to Cape Verde.

Related cases have been reported by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, and Portugal.

Argentina – What is Shigella: The criminal ‘rotten meat’ bacterium

Urgente 24

Such as urgent 24 As reported, the Municipality of Berazategui made official two deaths from salmonella and shigella batteries after eating offal and other types of meat in poor condition. The subjects aged 49 and 36, without pre-existing diseases, had acute diarrheal symptoms, which required admission to intensive care with mechanical ventilation, but “died in hospital on January 12 and 17.”

As for the shigella bacterium or bacillary dysentery, it is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, just like salmonella , or by direct contact with infected people. It is endemic in tropical climates, with a higher incidence in summer, in addition to generally presenting in institutions such as nursing homes and schools due to lack of hygiene measures or contagion through food and water.

Research – Microbiological safety of aged meat



The impact of dry-ageing of beef and wet-ageing of beef, pork and lamb on microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria was examined and current practices are described. As ‘standard fresh’ and wet-aged meat use similar processes these were differentiated based on duration. In addition to a description of the different stages, data were collated on key parameters (time, temperature, pH and aw) using a literature survey and questionnaires.

The microbiological hazards that may be present in all aged meats included Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli(STEC),Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, enterotoxigenic Yersinia spp., Campylobacter spp. and Clostridium spp. Moulds, such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp., may produce mycotoxins when conditions are favourable but may be prevented by ensuring a meat surface temperature of−0.5 to 3.0°C, with a relative humidity (RH) of 75–85% and an airflow of 0.2–0.5 m/s for up to 35 days.

The main meat spoilage bacteria include Pseudomonas spp., Lactobacillus spp. Enterococcus spp., Weissella spp., Brochothrix spp., Leuconostoc spp. Lactobacillus spp., Shewanella spp. and Clostridium spp. Undercurrent practices, the ageing of meat may have an impact on the load of microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria as compared to standard fresh meat preparation. Ageing under defined and controlled conditions can achieve the same or lower loads of microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria than the variable log10increases predicted during standard fresh meat preparation. An approach was used to establish the conditions of time and temperature that would achieve similar or lower levels of L. monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica (pork only) and lactic acid bacteria(representing spoilage bacteria) as compared to standard fresh meat. Finally, additional control activities were identified that would further assure the microbial safety of dry-aged beef, based on recommended best practice and the outputs of the equivalence assessment.

USA – Fullei Fresh Issues Correction on Alfalfa Sprout Recall Because of Possible Health Risk STEC E.coli


Alfalfa Sprouts Clamshell with Label

MIAMI, FL – Fullei Fresh is voluntarily recalling Alfalfa Sprouts due to the detection of Shiga toxin producing E.coli (STEC.) Shiga toxin producing E.coli is an organism that can cause foodborne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. The illness primarily impacts elderly individuals, children, and people with weakened immune systems. Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.

STEC is a bacterial strain that is not part of our routine microbial testing conducted in compliance with the FDA’s Produce Safety Rule Subpart M on every lot we produce. It was detected upon sampling of finished product by the FDA.

There have been no known illnesses reported to date in connection with this product.

The affected Fullei Fresh brand alfalfa sprout lot number is 336. They were shipped to distributors and retailers in Florida between December 9-23, 2022. No other lots or products are affected.

The lot numbers are printed on the 8 ounce retail packs and on 5 lb. bulk cardboard boxes in the barcode (the last 3 digits being 336.) Pictures are attached.

Should you be in possession of these products, please discard.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration and the Florida Department of Agriculture.

If you require further information, please contact or (305) 758-3880 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:00PM EST.

Company Contact Information


France – Cantal Entre-Deux with raw milk 1/8 wheel x1 (variable weight) – E.coli STEC 0103:H2

Gov france

Identification information of the recalled product

  • Product category Food
  • Product subcategory Milk and dairy products
  • Product brand name REFINERY COUNTER
  • Model names or references1/8 wheel format sold in the cutting department
  • Identification of products
    GTIN Batch Date
    3492840043960 batch: 35621472 Use-by date 31/01/2023
  • Packaging old at the cutting department
  • Marketing start/end date From 29/12/2022 to 03/01/2023
  • Storage temperature Product to be stored in the refrigerator
  • Health mark EN 15.196.001 CE
  • Geographic area of ​​sale Whole France
  • List of points of sale point_of_sale_list.pdf

Practical information regarding the recall

  • Reason for recall Presence of E.coli STEC 0103:H2
  • Risks incurred by the consumer Toxigenic Shiga Escherichia coli (STEC)