E.coli: 13 more cases of food poisoning linked to lettuce confirmed


Thirteen more people have been struck down by E. coli with health officials stating the number of cases has now reached 288. However, no further deaths have been reported since the single fatality attributed to the outbreak, which is believed to be linked to tainted salad leaves, late last month. In the latest update, The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said new cases continue to decline, with all confirmed patients suffering symptoms before June 10. They added however, that they expect a 'small number of additional cases' to be confirmed. And in a sign that the outbreak may be over UKHSA said it will stop publishing new case numbers due to the decline in new patients. UKHSA incident director, Amy Douglas, said the declining rate of new cases was positive. 'It’s encouraging that reported cases are continuing to decline, however we still expect to see a few more cases linked to this outbreak as further samples are referred to us for testing,' she said. The infections are due to a dangerous strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) with about half of known cases needing to hospital care as a result of their infection. Symptoms of STEC generally vary from mild to bloody diarrhoea, UKHSA says, with around half of people infected experiencing the latter. Vomiting, fever and stomach cramps are other tell-tale signs of an infection. However, it can also cause a potentially deadly complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) which can lead to kidney failure and death. To date, seven cases of HUS have been reported in the current outbreak. The E. coli outbreak is believed to be linked to tainted lettuce leaves and earlier this month more than 60 sandwiches, wraps and salads sold in 11 major shops were been slapped with 'do not eat' alerts as precautionary measure. Experts believe the texture of lettuce makes it more prone to being contaminated with E. coli though water tainted with infected animal faeces and the fact it's not cooked, which would usually kill off bugs, increasing the risk.​
The E. coli outbreak linked to lettuce is concerning, but new cases are declining. 🥗 Stay informed and cautious about food safety.