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Person in England dies in E. coli outbreak ‘spread by lettuce leaves’ as 19 new cases reported to UKHSA

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The body said there have been a further 19 cases associated with the current outbreak as of June 25, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 275 in the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had identified two people in England who died within 28 days of infection with shiga toxin-producing E.coli (Stec).

Last week, it said 86 people had been admitted to hospital as a result of the outbreak linked to lettuce in sandwiches sold by major supermarket chains.

As of June 25, there have been a further 19 cases of Stec, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 275 in the UK.

Have you been affected by this? Email athena.stavrou@independent.co.uk

A number of food manufacturers have recalled sandwiches, wraps and salads sold in major supermarkets and retail chains over fears they are linked to the outbreak. The Food Standards Agency has said lettuce used in the products are thought to be the likely source of the outbreak.

The product recalls involve certain sandwiches, wraps and salads sold at many major supermarkets and retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Co-op, Boots, Tesco, One Stop and WH Smith.

The product recalls involve certain sandwiches, wraps and salads sold at many major supermarkets and retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Co-op, Boots, Tesco, One Stop and WH Smith. (PA)
The product recalls involve certain sandwiches, wraps and salads sold at many major supermarkets and retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Co-op, Boots, Tesco, One Stop and WH Smith. (PA) (PA Archive)

Tests have shown the majority of the cases reported across the UK between May 25 and June 4 were part of a single outbreak, linked to a nationally distributed food item or items. By June 11, the number of cases associated with the outbreak was 211, and of 160 cases, 42% were admitted to hospital.

All the cases recorded involve Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O145 (Stec).

Darren Whitby, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency said: “Several sandwich manufacturers have now taken precautionary action to withdraw and recall various sandwiches, wraps, subs and rolls, as food chain and epidemiological links have enabled us to narrow down a wide range of foods consumed to a small number of salad leaves that have been used in these products.”

He added: “Although we are confident in the source of the outbreak being linked to a small number of salad leaves, which we identified early on through extensive food chain analysis, work continues to identify the root cause of the outbreak with the growers, suppliers and manufacturers so that actions can be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

“We will remain vigilant until the root cause of the outbreak is confirmed and we are keeping an open mind about possible causes of the outbreak.”

Experts say the E.coli bacteria, which is commonly found in the gut and faeces of many animals – particularly cows – and humans, is usually harmless, but occasionally it can cause symptoms including sometimes bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever, lasting anywhere from one to 14 days.

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