Another quick update on the E coli O104:H4 outbreak…July 1, 2011
On the 29th June the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a Joint Rapid Risk Assessment detailing information about the new cluster of E coli O104:H4 cases that has been detected in Bordeaux, France.
Of the 15 French cases, 9 cases so far report eating sprouted seeds (a mixture of fenugreek, mustard and rucola sprouts) although these number will probably be out of date by the time I’ve published this post.
The risk assessment says that because
- This is a very rarely isolated strain.
- The clinical picture in the patients is so similar to the cases in the German outbreak (HUS or bloody diarrhoea)
- The microbial characteristics including the antibiotic resistance profile are so similar to the bugs detected in the German outbreak
- The majority of the new cases have also reported eating beansprouts
it is likely that these French cases are linked to the German outbreak. (It should be noted that the sprouts eaten in France were not imported from the farm currently implicated in the German outbreak).
A huge effort is being put into tracing back the origin of the bugs and the report says that so far it looks like fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt in either 2009 and/or 2010 are implicated in both outbreaks. However, this isn’t actually definite yet as there are no positive bacterial results from any seeds.
EFSA is currently recommending
- consumers shouldn’t grow beansprouts or other sprouted seeds for their own consumption
- consumers shouldn’t eat beansprouts or other sprouted seeds unless they have been thoroughly cooked
The report is here and for health advice (which I am most definitely not qualified to provide) the UK Health Protection Agency advice is here and the WHO/Europe advice issued today (01/07/2011) is here.
Many thanks to Mattosaurus for the image above which is released into the public domain