Category Archives: STEC

Research – Prevalence of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli in Beef Cattle


A large number of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains have caused major outbreaks and sporadic cases of human illnesses, including mild diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, and the life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome. These illnesses have been traced to both O157 and non-O157 STEC. In a large number of STEC-associated outbreaks, the infections were attributed to consumption of ground beef or other beef products contaminated with cattle feces. Thus, beef cattle are considered reservoirs of STEC and can pose significant health risks to humans. The global nature of the human food supply suggests that safety concerns with beef will continue and the challenges facing the beef industry will increase at the production and processing levels. To be prepared to address these concerns and challenges, it is critical to assess the role of beef cattle in human STEC infections. In this review, published reports on STEC in beef cattle were evaluated to achieve the following specific objectives: (i) assess the prevalence of STEC in beef cattle, and (ii) determine the potential health risks of STEC strains from beef cattle. The latter objective is critically important because many beef STEC isolates are highly virulent. Global testing of beef cattle feces revealed wide ranges of prevalence rates for O157 STEC (i.e., 0.2 to 27.8%) and non-O157 STEC (i.e., 2.1 to 70.1%). Of the 261 STEC serotypes found in beef cattle, 44 cause hemolytic uremic syndrome and 37 cause other illnesses.

Research – Raw is still risky: Six years after a toddler died, Australian advocates want raw milk back on the table

Barf blog

In late 2014, three children in the Australian state of Victoria developed hemolytic uremic syndrome linked to Shiga-toxin toxin producing E. coli in unpasteurized bath milk produced by Mountain View Dairy Farm. One child died, and two others developed cryptosporidiosis.

The Victorian government quickly banned the sale of so-called bath milk, which although labeled as not fit for human consumption, was a widely recognized way for Australian consumers to access raw milk.

USA – 43 Thousand Pounds of Hamburger recalled over E. coli O157

Food Poison Journal

Lakeside Refrigerated Services, a Swedesboro, N.J. establishment, is recalling approximately 42,922 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The raw ground beef items were produced on June 1, 2020.

RASFF Alert – STEC E.coli – Frozen Lamb Loins


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O91 stx1+ stx2+ eae- /25g) in frozen lamb loins from New Zealand in Italy

Europe – Large E. coli increase recorded for Europe in 2018

Food Safety News

The Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection rate in Europe jumped by 40 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, based on data from ECDC’s annual surveillance report.

After a stable period from 2014 to 2017, the rate increased by 41 percent in 2018. This made STEC the third most common zoonosis in Europe after Campylobacter and Salmonella.

A contributing factor may be the shift from culture to culture-independent diagnostic methods, with PCR more commonly used to diagnose cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

STEC infection is mainly acquired through eating contaminated food and contact with animals and/or their feces. Adequate cooking of food, particularly beef, and use of pasteurized milk may reduce the risk of foodborne infections, added the agency.

Europe – Shiga toxin/verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC/VTEC) infection – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2018


Executive summary

  • For 2018, 30 EU/EEA countries reported 8 658 confirmed cases of infection with Shigatoxin/verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC/VTEC).
  • The overall notification rate was 2.4 cases per 100 000 population.
  • After a stable period from 2014 to 2017, the notification rate increased by 41% in 2018.
  • The highest notification rates were reported in Denmark, Ireland, Malta, Norway and Sweden.
  • The highest rate of confirmed cases was observed in 0–4-year-old children (11.5 cases per 100 000 population).

Research – Risk of E. coli in hydroponic and aquaponic systems may be greater than once thought

Phys Org


Image CDC

A spate of foodborne illnesses in leafy greens and other produce in recent years has sickened consumers and disrupted growers and supply chains. It’s been thought that hydroponic and aquaponic systems could reduce these issues since there is little opportunity for pathogens like E. coli to contaminate the edible parts of plants.

A Purdue University study, however, has found the presence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) – the same bacteria that have made consumers of several produce products ill—in hydroponic and aquaponic growing systems. Hye-Ji Kim, an assistant professor of horticulture and the study’s corresponding author, said the findings suggest growers using these systems should be careful in handling and harvesting to avoid contamination.

RASFF Alert – STEC E.coli – Frozen Sausages


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx2+) in and absence of labelling (UBD missing) on frozen sausages from the United Kingdom in Germany

Research – Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

Pediatrics in Review

Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) was described by Moschcowitz in 1924, and the term hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) appeared by 1955 to describe a series of patients with small-vessel renal thrombi, thrombocytopenia, and hemolytic anemia. During the 1970s an association was noted between enteric Escherichia coli infections and HUS, and in 1983 the specific trigger of Shiga toxin–producing E coli (STEC) was recognized. This recognition led to classification of HUS as “diarrhea positive” or “diarrhea negative,” although this terminology is no longer popular. Other secondary forms of HUS are known, including HUS associated with invasive pneumococcal infection, human immunodeficiency virus, systemic lupus erythematosus, or uncommon reactions to medications such as cyclosporine. More recently, the term atypical HUS (aHUS) has been used to describe a rare form of HUS occurring in susceptible individuals, most often from defects in regulation of the alternative pathway of complement, whereas typical HUS largely refers to STEC-HUS or pneumococcal HUS.

In patients with bloody diarrhea, it is imperative that front-line providers understand the importance of testing for STEC. In many parts of the world STEC O157:H7 is the most common pathogen leading to HUS, but it certainly is not the only one as many other organisms besides E coli have been causally implicated with HUS. Testing for STEC is evolving quickly. Stool culture, various assays for the Shiga toxin, and most recently DNA testing of stool are all being used, each method with its own strengths and limitations. The most crucial issue is timeliness because the window of opportunity …

USA – Chicago Indoor Garden Recall on Products that Include Red Clover Sprouts: E. Coli 0103 Detected in Multi-State E. coli Outbreak

Food Poisoning News

hicago Indoor Garden Recall on Products that Include Red Clover Sprouts: E. Coli 0103 Detected in Multi-State E. coli Outbreak

Chicago Indoor Garden is voluntarily recalling all of their packaged products that include red clover sprouts for the detection of E. coli 0103. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified the company, Chicago Indoor Garden, of the E. col 0103 after quality testing procedures. The red clover sprouts products included in the recall are the 4-ounce Red Clover clamshell, boxes of 2-pound Red Clover, the 6-ounce Sprout Salad clamshell, the 4-ounce Mixed Greens clamshell, and the 6-ounce Spring Salad clamshell. All of the recalled items have a “Best by” date of December 1, 2019 through March 12, 2020. These packaged items were distributed throughout the Midwest to Whole Foods, Coosemans Chicago Inc., Battaglia Distributing, and Liver Waters Farms.