Dutch cucumbers suspected in UK E. coli outbreak

An E. coli O157 outbreak in the UK that affected 36 folks has been linked to a quick meals product containing imported cucumbers.

Investigations into the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak this previous yr pointed to a sure quick meals meal bought at one restaurant chain with contaminated cucumbers from the Netherlands.

Findings present additional proof that salad gadgets are an vital automobile of STEC outbreaks, mentioned researchers within the Worldwide Journal of Infectious Ailments.

Folks fell sick from early to mid-August 2020 and investigations into the spike in reported infections started that month.

Hospital visits for a 3rd of sufferers
Twenty-four sufferers have been feminine. Sick folks ranged between 13 and 60 years outdated and 27 lived throughout England, with 21 from two areas within the Midlands, and 9 in Wales.

Medical data for 33 folks reveals 13 have been hospitalized and 25 had bloody diarrhea however there have been no stories of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

Trawling questionnaires have been finished with sufferers. A excessive proportion ate meals from eating places and/or takeaways, with a number of consuming out a number of instances within the seven days previous to their onset of signs.

One restaurant chain was talked about by 23 folks with 16 reporting consumption of a sure quick meals product. In complete, 27 mentioned that they had processed rooster, 23 talked about lettuce and 17 mentioned cucumber.

A complete of 29 confirmed circumstances reported consuming both cucumber in or out of the house or the quick meals product which contained cucumber, rooster, lettuce and sauce. No sufferers mentioned they ate one other related product on the identical chain, which contained a special rooster kind, bacon, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce, however no cucumber.

A complete of 27 circumstances and 80 non-outbreak case comparisons have been included in a case-case evaluation. There was proof of an affiliation between consumption of uncooked greens, iceberg lettuce, the quick meals product with cucumbers, Indian takeaways and several other different meals websites, and odds of an infection.

A complete of 25 sufferers and 85 controls have been a part of a case-control evaluation. This indicated an affiliation between outbreak circumstances and consuming the quick meals product with cucumber. Researchers discovered individuals who ate cucumber-containing gadgets typically didn’t report having eaten cucumber.

Suspected meals just lately put again on menu
Components from the suspected quick meals product have been examined two days previous to the cucumber batch being discarded however no STEC contamination was detected.

Eleven samples from fast-food shops and one retailer reported by a affected person together with shredded lettuce, cucumber and breaded/pre-cooked rooster examined adverse for E. coli O157. As did unfastened grocery store peppers from the house of 1 affected person.

The restaurant chain mentioned that uncooked supplies and completed product underwent common microbiological testing and all product was adverse. The implicated product had solely been re-added to the menu within the week previous to outbreak detection because the chain had solely been providing a restricted menu because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Most implicated eating places from the chain have been equipped by one distribution middle within the Midlands. The cucumber given to the eating places through this web site was grown within the Netherlands by a company of 11 growers and distributed to the UK and different European nations. Fifteen nations reported that they had not seen current will increase in associated E. coli strains.

The implicated quick meals restaurant chain stopped utilizing all cucumber growers recognized on notification of the outbreak and eliminated all cucumbers from shops equipped by the Midland’s distribution middle. After this motion no extra diseases have been recognized.

“Regardless of the meals enterprise operators (FBOs) testing for E. coli, it was not detected previous to, or throughout, this outbreak which questions the meaningfulness and utility of post-harvest/pre-supply testing; mixed resistance to sharing enough particulars of complicated provide chains from FBOs restricted and confounded traceback efforts,” mentioned researchers.

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