Outbreak: STEC 0104:H4 2011

On 22 May 2011, Germany reported a significant increase in the number of patients with haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and bloody diarrhoea caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Since 2 May, over 700 HUS cases and over 2300 STEC cases been reported in Germany. Additional HUS and STEC cases linked to the outbreak have been reported in several other EU/EEA countries; Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom. While HUS cases are usually observed in children under 5 years of age, over 85% are adults in this outbreak, with a clear predominance of women (about 70%).

The joint investigations by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food safety (BVL) suggested that sprouts produced in a farm in Lower Saxony were the likely source of infection. German food safety and public health authorities have released a joint statement, which recommended abstaining from eating sprouts and lifts the earlier ban on cucumbers, tomatoes and salad.