E coli – Ireland
The incidence of STEC tends to be higher in warmer weather, particularly over the summer. The agency continues to investigate a range of risk factors that contributed to the outbreak which is now reported under control.
When a child becomes infected with STEC, there is an increased risk of person-to-person contact in daycare centers or households where there are children younger than five years of age.
The disease can cause serious life-changing illness in young children and the elderly. It underpins the importance of hand hygiene before and after preparing food, after contact with farm animals and their environment, and prompt treatment and rehabilitation of private wells.Some strains of E. coli are harmful. Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) are strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli that produce either Shiga toxin or Shiga-like toxin (verotoxin). Only a minority of the strains cause illness in humans. These are collectively known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).
They are a major cause of foodborne-illness. When infecting humans, they often cause gastroenteritis, enterocolitis, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes cause a severe complication called hemolytic-uremic syndrome.
After eating contaminated food, the first symptoms of infection can emerge anywhere from 1 to 10 days later, but usually after 3 to 4 days. These early symptoms can include diarrhea (which is often bloody), stomach cramps, mild fever, or vomiting that results in dehydration and reduced urine. Hemolytic uremic syndrome typically develops about 5 to 10 days after the first symptoms, but can take up to 3 weeks to manifest, and occurs at a time when the diarrhea is improving.
The country with the highest incidence of hemolytic-uremic syndrome is Argentina. But it can occur in frequently large outbreaks in any country.
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