Category Archives: VTEC

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – Beef

kswfoodworld food safety poisoning

RASFF -shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (presence /25g) in frozen beef from Brazil in Italy

RASFF -shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1-,stx2+ /25g) in frozen boneless beef from Brazil in Italy

RASFF-shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1+, stx2+, eae- /25g) in chilled boneless beef from Uruguay in the Netherlands

RASFF Alert – STEC E.coli – Chilled Beef

kswfoodworld food safety poisoning

RASFF-shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1+ stx2+ eae+ /25g) in chilled beef from Uruguay in the Netherlands

Ireland -12 cases of E.Coli now confirmed at Dunmore creche

Connach Tribune

12 cases of E.Coli have now been confirmed following an outbreak last week at Dun Beag creche in Dunmore.
The HSE’s multidisciplinary Outbreak Control Team says four cases have involved hospitalisation.
E.Coli VTEC can spread in a number of ways including contact with infected animals, contaminated soil, water or certain foods, and can be spread among toddlers who are not toilet trained.
The majority of cases of VTEC get better with no treatment and without hospitalisation.
However the most serious complication is Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome or HUS which occurs in up to 10% of VTEC cases.
This can lead to anaemia and kidney failure and requires intensive medical treatment.
The number of cases of VTEC notified in Ireland each year is increasing with 927 cases confirmed in 2017.

Research – A Novel Selective Medium for Simultaneous Enrichment of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli and Salmonella in Ground Beef

Journal of Food Protection 


Microbiological analysis of ground beef for contamination by both Salmonella and Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), as part of its Performance Standards Verification Testing program. FSIS has established a zero tolerance for STEC serotype O157:H7 and serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 because they are regarded as adulterants. The detection and isolation of these specific serogroups presents a technical challenge necessitating time-consuming and costly laboratory procedures that often exceed the technical capabilities of many small internal and reference laboratories. We describe here a method using a novel STEC and Salmonella selective (SSS) broth that allows for simultaneous selective enrichment of STEC and Salmonella sp., providing isolation and detection from the same broth. The method only involves direct plating from beef enrichments to detect suspect isolates that can be easily confirmed by using immunoassays or PCR, rendering the isolation simpler and less costly than the current described methods. In a side-by-side comparison with modified tryptic soy broth (mTSB), the use of SSS broth resulted in primarily isolating STEC and Salmonella sp., while substantially suppressing the growth of other gram-negative Enterobacteriacae by 90%. Significantly more (χ2 < 3.84) samples containing E. coli O157:H7 and STEC O26, O111, O121, and O145 and a nondifferent (χ2 > 3.84) number of samples containing STEC O103 and O45 were identified when enriching in SSS broth. Coenrichment using six different Salmonella serovars showed numerically greater but not significant (χ2 < 3.84) positive samples by using SSS broth compared with mTSB for a majority of serotypes.

RASFF Alert – STEC E.coli – Chilled Beef

kswfoodworld food safety poisoning

RASFF-shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1+ /25g) in chilled beef from Uruguay in the Netherlands

Research – Petting zoos as sources of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections


Despite their general low incidence, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia (E.) coli (STEC) infections are considered an important public health issue due to the severity of illness that can develop, particularly in young children. We report on two Austrian petting zoos, one in Tyrol (2015) and one in Vorarlberg (2016), which were identified as highly likely infection sources of STEC infections. The petting zoo related cases involved a case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) due to STEC O157:HNM in 2015 and an outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections affecting five young children and two adults in 2016. The HUS case accounted for 2.8% of the 36 STEC O157:HNM/H7 infections notified in Austria in 2015 (5,9% of 17 HUS cases). The seven cases described for 2016 accounted for 4.0% of the 177 human STEC infections documented for Austria in 2016, and for 19% of the 36 STEC O157:HNM/H7 infections notified that year. The evaluation of the STEC infections described here clearly underlines the potential of sequence-based typing methods to offer suitable resolutions for public health applications. Furthermore, we give a state-of-the-art mini-review on the risks of petting zoos concerning exposure to the zoonotic hazard STEC and on proper measures of risk-prevention.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at

Ireland- Increase in food poisoning cases

Irish Health 


People are being urged to take extra care when handling and preparing food as there has been an increase in E.coli infections in recent weeks.

E.coli is a bacterium that lives in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. Verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) is a particular type of E.coli that lives in the gut of healthy sheep and cattle. VTEC is a common cause of food poisoning, which can lead to symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

While patients usually recover within five to 10 days, some people, especially young children and older people, can suffer a complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. This happens in 5-8% of cases.

According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), almost 100 cases of VTEC have been notified over the last 10 days, which is three times higher than the figure for this time last year.

It is reminding people of the importance of always washing your hands before and after handling food, and always washing fruit and vegetables before consuming.

It is also reminding people of the importance of ensuring that minced meats are cooked all the way through.

“Eating meat, especially minced beef, that has not been thoroughly cooked all the way through to kill these VTEC bugs can cause food poisoning. Therefore, to ensure that minced meat burgers are safe to eat, they should be cooked to a core temperature of 75°C.

“VTEC can also be found in the stools of an infected person and can be passed from person to person if hygiene or hand-washing habits are inadequate. This is particularly common among toddlers who are not toilet trained. Family members and playmates of these children are at high risk of becoming infected,” the HPSC said.

According to the HSE’s assistant national director of public health, Dr Kevin Kelleher, while investigations have not identified a specific reason for the increase in VTEC infections, the current good weather probably has a role to play.

“We would like to remind people to be careful about food safety during this heatwave to protect themselves against food poisoning. This hot weather provides the right conditions for bacteria such as VTEC to grow and multiply on foods, which can lead to high numbers of cases of food poisoning in adults and children.

“Not washing hands after handling raw meat, not washing fruits and vegetables and undercooking minced meats, such as beef burgers, are common ways of getting food poisoning at this time of year,” he commented.

The HPSC and Safefood recommends four simple steps to reduce the risk of food poisoning:

-Clean – always wash your hands before and after preparing, handling and eating food, after using the toilet or after playing with animals
-Cook – make sure that food is cooked all the way through in order to destroy any harmful bacteria that might be present
-Chill – keep food cool in order to prevent bad bacteria from growing. Make sure that your fridge is at the correct temperature to keep cold foods chilled (5°C or below)
-Separate – to prevent cross-contamination, always separate raw and cooked foods during storage and cooking and never let raw food, for example raw meat, come into contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as salads.