Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), previously referred to as Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC), are a group of bacteria which can cause gastrointestinal illness in humans.
We undertake enhanced surveillance of E. coli O157 and other STEC in close collaboration with the Scottish E. coli O157/STEC Reference Laboratory (SERL) and NHS board health protection teams.
Data is also integrated with other surveillance systems, in particular ObSurv, the system for the surveillance of all general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease.
In addition to E. coli O157, laboratory and surveillance data is also captured on non-O157 STEC infections which account for around 40% of all STEC infections in Scotland.
- During 2019, there were 150 cases of E. coli O157 and 108 cases of non-O157 STEC reported to us.
- This was a slight decrease on the 156 cases of E. coli O157 and the 110 cases of non-O157 STEC reported in 2018.
- Most isolates were reported in the summer months. This trend is consistent with previous years.
- E. coli O157 and non-O157 STEC infection rates vary across the population, with overall higher rates observed in children under 5 years of age.
- Enhanced surveillance information was available for 91% of cases.
Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli O157 and non-O157 serogroups are known to cause serious diseases in human. However, research on the persistence of E. coli non-O157 serogroups in preharvest environment is limited. In the current study, we compared the survival behavior of E. coli O157 to that of non-O157 E. coli strains in agricultural soils collected from three major fresh produce growing areas of California (CA) and Arizona (AZ). Results showed that the nonpathogenic E. coli O157:H7 4554 survived longer than the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 in Imperial Valley CA and Yuma AZ, but not in soils from the Salinas area. However, E. coli O157:NM was found to persist significantly longer than E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 in all soil tested from the three regions. Furthermore, two non-O157 (E. coli O26:H21 and E. coli O103:H2) survived significantly longer than E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 in all soils tested. Pearson correlation analysis showed that survival of the E. coli strains was affected by different environmental factors. Our data suggest that survival of E. coli O157 and non-O157 may be strain and soil specific, and therefore, care must be taken in data interpretation with respect to survival of this pathogen in different soils.
The Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) along with local health departments in Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa, and Washtenaw counties are investigating a cluster of recent illnesses due to the bacteria E. coli O157:H7.
Five confirmed Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157 illnesses have been reported in adults between 20-41 years of age with symptom onset dates from April 22 – May 1. Three individuals have been hospitalized. None of the ill individuals have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of E. coli O157 infection, and no deaths have been reported.
A further four cases of the potentially fatal E.coli O157 have been linked to food sold at Glasgow’s Hydro venue.
Health officials said there were now 11 cases linked to burgers consumed at events between 17 and 25 January. All are recovering at home.
The cases are from health board areas in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Highland, Forth Valley and Cumbria.
Anyone who attended the venue recently, and who feels unwell, is asked to contact their GP.
Symptoms to look out for include stomach cramps, diarrhoea (often bloody), nausea and fever.