To date, there have been no cases of E. coli 0104 infection in Northern Ireland.
In Germany, there have been over 3,500 cases of bloody diarrhoea and HUS associated with E. coli 0104. In all, 43 deaths have been reported. The source of infection is believed to be locally grown sprouted seeds. In the last week, the number of new cases being reported has decreased.
Eight cases of bloody diarrhoea and HUS have been identified in the Bordeaux area of France, most likely also related to E. coli 0104 infection. Again, contaminated seeds appear to be the source of infection.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has produced advice on the handling and consumption of sprouted seeds. These should not be eaten raw, but should be cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout. Equipment used for sprouting seeds should be cleaned after use and good hand hygiene should be followed after handling seeds. Further information can be found on www.food.gov.uk
A factsheet on E. coli can be found at: www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications/health-matters-what-you-need-know-e-coli-o157
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611