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General outbreaks of vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli O157 in England and Wales from 1992 to 1994.We have reviewed all general outbreaks of infection due to Vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) O157 reported in England and Wales from 1992 to 1994. One hundred and seventy-three people were affected in 18 outbreaks, compared with 76 people in seven outbreaks in the preceding three years (1989 to 1991). Outbreaks occurred throughout England and Wales. Thirty-eight per cent of cases were admitted to hospital, 21% developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, and 3% died. VTEC O157 infection causes particular concern because of its serious complications--haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome, its capacity to spread from person to person as well as by food and water, and its reservoir in dairy and beef cattle.
An outbreak of Vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli O157 infection associated with takeaway sandwiches.An 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.