VTEC in Germany: Update 31/5/11


As of Tuesday May 31, German Authorities have identified 373 cases of Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) associated with an outbreak of VTEC (Verocytoxigenic Escherichia coli) VTEC O104. Six deaths in Germany are confirmed as being associated with this outbreak. The population in Germany affected in this outbreak are largely female and adult (71% are female and 88% are aged 20 years or older).  Updates, in English, from German authorities are available here. Cases are being reported from a number of neighbouring countries (Sweden-15, Denmark-7, Netherlands-3, UK-2), largely among German visitors to the country in question, or in travellers to Germany. The latest Europe-wide SitRep from the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is available here. Daily updates will be posted on ECDC’s website here.

To date, there are no cases associated with this outbreak strain in Ireland. 

Although salad vegetables have been shown in an initial analytical study in Germany to be associated with human disease, no definite microbiological evidence exists between illness and a particular food item.  Further epidemiological and laboratory studies are ongoing, but contaminated food seems the most likely vehicle of infection. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland have issued an update in relation to this outbreak today.