Almost 260 Britons have been sickened by E. coli outbreak linked to SALADS
- The cases occurred across the country through August to October
- Full details have only just been made public by the Food Standards Agency
- There have been no deaths linked to the latest outbreak, the agency said
More than 250 people have been struck down by a virulent form of food poisoning that has been linked to lettuce grown in the UK.
The cases occurred across the country through August to October, however the full details have only just been made public by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
An investigation has been launched by the FSA, its counterpart in Scotland and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
The FSA chief executive, Emily Miles, told board members yesterday (wed) that this outbreak of food poisoning linked to E.coli STEC (Shinga toxin-producing E.coli) is the largest since whole genome sequencing of such bugs began in 2014.
The cases occurred across the country through August to October, however the full details have only just been made public by the Food Standards Agency (stock)
E. coli (Escherichia coli) are bacteria that generally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals
What is E. coli?
E. coli (Escherichia coli) are bacteria that generally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals.
Infections can occur after coming into contact with the faeces of humans or animals, or by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
Symptoms of an E.coli infection include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.
In rare cases, sufferers can develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
This is a condition in which there is an abnormal destruction of blood platelets and red blood cells.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the damaged blood cells can clog the kidney’s filtering system, resulting in life-threatening kidney failure.
She said: ‘To date, there have been a total of 259 confirmed cases identified in the UK with sample dates ranging between August 23 — October 29, 2022.
‘Investigations suggest UK produced lettuce and salad leaves could have been implicated but it is too early to be certain that they were the source of illness.
‘The ongoing supply chain investigation is extensive and complex, and we continue to look for the root cause and where in the supply chain the food safety risk occurred.’
The problem with bugs on foods such as lettuce is that there is no cooking process to kill them.
Dr Lesley Larkin, head of surveillance, gastrointestinal infections, and food safety at UKHSA, said: ‘Making sure you wash your hands with soap and water is the best way to stop this bug from spreading.
‘When preparing food make sure you thoroughly wash salad, fruit, and vegetables and follow all the safe cooking instructions for meat.’
The symptoms of E. coli infections often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
Most patients recover within five to seven days, however they can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications.
About 5 to 10 per cent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
There have been no deaths or reported cases of HUS linked to the latest outbreak.