E. coli O157 outbreak linked to salad leaves

Public Health England (PHE) is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157 phage type (PT) 34 infection in the UK that may be linked to the consumption of mixed salad, including rocket (also known as rucola) leaves.

A total of 109 cases had been identified up to 4th July, with 102 cases in England, 6 in Wales and one in Scotland. PHE says that the South West of England is particularly badly affected.

The outbreak investigation has not yet identified the source of the outbreak, but has discovered that several of the people affected ate mixed salad leaves, including rocket leaves, before becoming unwell. However, other food vehicles are not being ruled out of the investigation, which is on-going.

PHE has increased the level of surveillance for this particular strain of E. coli and is monitoring reports of cases across the UK. Consumers are also being advised to follow good hygiene practice when preparing meals and to thoroughly wash all vegetables unless labelled ready-to-eat.

A PHE press release about the investigation can be found here.

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