E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

19% rise in Scottish E.coli cases

21st February 2012

A provisional total of 253 culture positive cases of E.coli O157 were reported to Health Protection Scotland during 2011, an increase of 41 (19%) compared to 212 in 2010. Although this was a substantial increase, the total for 2010 was unusually low compared to the average for the last five years (237 cases).

The agency blamed the increase on a UK-wide outbreak believed to have originated from contaminated vegetables. The outbreak, between December 2010 and July 2011, saw 250 cases of E.coli infection throughout England, Wales and Scotland and 74 victims treated in hospital.

The rate of reports per 100,000 population for the whole of Scotland was 4.8 in 2011, compared to 4.1 in 2010. Incidence rates varied across Scotland, as in previous years, and the overall increase was not observed in all boards. As in previous years, the two highest incidence rates amongst mainland NHS boards were reported by Dumfries & Galloway (13.5 cases per 100,000 population) and Grampian (7.8).

Provisionally, the proportion of imported cases (15%) fell slightly compared to 17% in 2010.

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