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Foodborne transmission of sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157:[H7] via ground beef: an outbreak in northern France, 2011

Abstract : Sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157:[H7] is a particularly virulent clone of E. coli O157:H7 associated with a higher incidence of haemolytic uraemic syndrome and a higher case fatality rate. Many fundamental aspects of its epidemiology remain to be elucidated, including its reservoir and transmission routes and vehicles. We describe an outbreak of sorbitol-fermenting E. coli O157:[H7] that occurred in France in 2011. Eighteen cases of paediatric haemolytic uraemic syndrome with symptom onset between 6 June and 15 July 2011 were identified among children aged 6 months to 10 years residing in northern France. A strain of sorbitol-fermenting E. coli O157:[H7] stx2a eae was isolated from ten cases. Epidemiological, microbiological and trace-back investigations identified multiply-contaminated frozen ground beef products bought in a supermarket chain as the outbreak vehicle. Strains with three distinct pulsotypes that were isolated from patients, ground beef preparations recovered from patients' freezers and from stored production samples taken at the production plant were indistinguishable upon molecular comparison. This investigation documents microbiologically confirmed foodborne transmission of sorbitol-fermenting of E. coli O157 via beef and could additionally provide evidence of a reservoir in cattle for this pathogen.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 4:41:26 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 4:48:05 PM

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L.A. King, Estelle Loukiadis, P. Mariani-Kurkdjian, S. Haeghebaert, F.-X. Weill, et al.. Foodborne transmission of sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157:[H7] via ground beef: an outbreak in northern France, 2011. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Elsevier for the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 2014, 20 (12), pp.O1136-O1144. ⟨10.1111/1469-0691.12736⟩. ⟨pasteur-02025475⟩

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