Epidemiological investigation of recurrent outbreaks of haemolytic uraemic syndrome caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serotype O55:H7 in England, 2014-2018

C. Sawyer, B. Vishram, Claire Jenkins, F. Jorgenson, Lisa Byrne, Amy Mikhail, Tim Dallman, K. Carroll, L. Ahyow, Q. Vahora, Gauri Godbole, Uthayasoori Balasegaram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recurrent outbreaks of haemolytic ureamic syndrome (HUS) caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O55:H7 occurred in England between 2014 and 2018. We reviewed the epidemiological evidence to identify potential source(s) and transmission routes of the pathogen, and to assess the on-going risk to public health. Over the five-year period, there were 43 confirmed and three probable cases of STEC O55:H7. The median age of cases was 4 years old (range 6 months to 69 years old) and over half of all cases were female (28/46, 61%). There were 36/46 (78.3%) symptomatic cases, and over half of these developed HUS (20/36, 54%), including two fatal cases. No common food or environmental exposures were identified, although the majority of cases lived in rural or semi-rural environments and reported contact with both wild and domestic animals. This investigation informed policy on the clinical and public health management of HUS caused by STEC other than serotype O157:H7 (non-O157 STEC) in England, including comprehensive testing of all household contacts and household pets and more widespread use of PCR assays for the rapid diagnosis of STEC-HUS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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