E coli – United Kingdom

Weekend of June 26th, 2021 – Two cases of E. Coli (O157) identified in the Acton Scott Historic Working Farm in Shropshire, England. No deaths have been reported. Age and gender of individuals have not been indicated in the source.

E.Coli (O157) is a bacterial infection arising from the ingestion of food or water contaminated by infected animal or human fecal matter. Symptoms typically include mild to severe diarrhea. Severe cases, according to the source, can include fevers, kidney failure, and death.

Cases of E. Coli tend to be most prevalent in the spring and summer, where people visit parks and farmlands and gastrointestinal infections have higher case reports. It is during these visits that people are most likely to handle or pet animals. From this information, it is suspected that the two individuals have come into contact with an infected animal, though it has not been confirmed.

To control and prevent the infection of other visitors, the members of the farm and public health officials emphasized hand washing efforts, improved signage, and temporarily closure of the farm to the public. Investigation of the farm is being conducted by a public health team. Other recommendations include properly cooking and handling food, practicing good hand hygiene after restroom use and handling raw foods and touching live animals, and cleaning hands, shoes, clothing, and pushchairs when leaving the farm and entering a car or the home.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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