An outbreak of Vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli O157 infection associated with takeaway sandwiches.
AffiliationPublic Health Laboratory, West Dorset Hospital, Dorchester.
Escherichia coli Infections
Escherichia coli O157
Shiga Toxin 1
MetadataShow full item record
CitationMcDonnell RJ et al. An outbreak of Vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli O157 infection associated with takeaway sandwiches. Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev. 1997, 7 (13):R201-5
JournalCommunicable disease report. CDR review
AbstractAn outbreak of food poisoning due to Escherichia coli O157 phage type 2 Vero cytotoxin 2 affected 26 people in southern counties of England in May and June 1995. The organism was isolated from faecal specimens from 23 patients, 16 of whom lived in Dorset and seven in Hampshire. Isolates were indistinguishable by phage typing, Vero cytotoxin gene typing, restriction fragment length polymorphism, and pulsed field gel electrophoresis. Three associated cases, linked epidemiologically to the outbreak, were confirmed serologically by detection of antibodies to E. coli O157 lipopolysaccharide. Twenty-two of the 26 patients were adults: four were admitted to hospital with haemorrhagic colitis. Four cases were children: two were admitted to hospital with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). There were no deaths. Although E. coli O157 was not isolated from any food samples, illness was associated with having eaten cold meats in sandwiches bought from two sandwich producers, in Weymouth and in Portsmouth. Both shops were supplied by the same wholesaler, who kept no records and obtained cooked meats from several sources in packs that did not carry adequate identification marks. It was, therefore, impossible to trace back to the original producer or to investigate further to determine the origin of contamination with E. coli O157. To protect the public health it is essential that all wholesale packs of ready-to-eat food carry date codes and the producer's identification mark. Detailed record keeping should be part of hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) systems and should be maintained throughout the chain of distribution from the producer to retail outlets.
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