E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

STEC O26:H11, a clinically significant emerging threat to public health in England according to a research publication.

29th May 2023

According to research published in April this year in the Journal of Infection called “Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O26:H11 (clonal complex 29) “STEC O26:H11 notifications (reported cases) in 2021 were 8 times higher than those recorded in 2014. Link below to this article:

The number of reported cases in England “have increased each year from 19 in 2014 to 144 in 2021”.

“Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) was diagnosed in 40/459 (9%) of cases and three children died”. (Previous research has indicated that STEC O26 cases may have a greater chance of developing HUS than other strains of STEC’s).

“The highest proportion of STEC O26:H11 cases belonged to the 0–5 years old age group for both males (107/252, 42%) and females (117/339, 35%)”

“57% of the overall cases were female (339/591) with a median age of 21 years, and the median age for males was 13”.

The report also states in Conclusions “Determining the true incidence and prevalence is challenging due to inconsistent national surveillance strategies. Improved diagnostics and surveillance algorithms are required to monitor the true burden, detect outbreaks and to implement effective interventions.”

In relation to diagnostics, not all Laboratories are equipped to enable the latest technologies such as PCR testing etc. hence the need for improvement in this area to enable more accurate and consistent surveillance.

As we have previously said, all non O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) such as STEC O26, O146 etc. should be published together with all STEC O157 cases in all reporting forms by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

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