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One person confirmed to have died from E. coli outbreak

One person confirmed to have died from E. coli outbreak

One person has died from the E. coli outbreak, now linked to sandwich lettuce, the UK Health Security Agency has confirmed.

In an update, the UKHSA said there had been a further 19 cases associated with the outbreak of STEC O145 in the past week bringing the total to 275.

Around half of those infected have been admitted to hospital, the latest figures suggest.

Officials said through surveillance they had identified two individuals in England who died in May within 28 days of infection with the STEC outbreak strain.

Based on the information available from clinicians one of these deaths is likely linked to their STEC infection, UKHSA said. Both individuals had underlying medical conditions.

GPs were first told of the potential serious outbreak at the start of June although at that point it was not known what was causing the issue other than it was likely to be a food stuff.

It was confirmed earlier this month that several sandwich manufacturers had taken precautionary action to recall various products after public health teams narrowed down the source of the outbreak as being likely to relate to a type of lettuce used in pre-packed sandwiches.

All current confirmed cases had symptoms start before 4 June but while figures are starting to fall, UKHSA said it expected to see more as further samples are tested and genome sequencing done.

Of the cases to date, 182 have been in England, 58 in Scotland, 31 in Wales and four in Northern Ireland but who were thought to acquire their infection in England.

Based on information from 249 cases to date, 49% were admitted to hospital.

Amy Douglas, incident director at UKHSA, said: ‘We’re pleased that fewer cases have been reported, however we still expect to see a few more cases linked to this outbreak as further samples are referred to us for testing.

‘Symptoms of infections with STEC include severe and sometimes bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.’

She reminded people to wash hands with soap and warm water and use disinfectants to clean surfaces to help stop any further spread of infection.

Darren Whitby, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency said: ‘This remains a complex investigation and we continue to work with the relevant businesses and the local authorities to ensure necessary steps are being taken to protect consumers.

‘Although we are confident in the likely source of the outbreak being linked to lettuce, work continues to confirm this and identify the root cause of the outbreak with the growers, suppliers and manufacturers so that actions can be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.’


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