Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157, England and Wales, 1983-2012

Natalie L. Adams, Lisa Byrne, Geraldine A. Smith, Richard Elson, John P. Harris, Roland Salmon, Robert Smith, Sarah J. O'Brien, Goutam K. Adak, Claire Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluated clinical Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 infections in England and Wales during 1983-2012 to describe changes in microbiological and surveillance methods. A strain replacement event was captured; phage type (PT) 2 decreased to account for just 3% of cases by 2012, whereas PT8 and PT21/28 strains concurrently emerged, constituting almost two thirds of cases by 2012. Despite interventions to control and reduce transmission, incidence remained constant. However, sources of infection changed over time; outbreaks caused by contaminated meat and milk declined, suggesting that interventions aimed at reducing meat cross-contamination were effective. Petting farm and school and nursery outbreaks increased, suggesting the emergence of other modes of transmission and potentially contributing to the sustained incidence over time. Studies assessing interventions and consideration of policies and guidance should be undertaken to reduce Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 infections in England and Wales in line with the latest epidemiologic findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-597
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Adolescent Adult Animals Child Child, Preschool Coliphages/classification/genetics/isolation & purification Communicable Disease Control *Disease Outbreaks England/epidemiology Epidemiological Monitoring Escherichia coli Infections/*epidemiology/microbiology/pathology/transmission Escherichia coli O157/isolation & purification/*metabolism/pathogenicity/physiology Feces/microbiology Female Humans Incidence Infant Infant, Newborn Male Meat/microbiology Middle Aged Milk/microbiology Molecular Typing Shiga Toxin/biosynthesis/*isolation & purification Shiga-Toxigenic Escherichia coli/*metabolism/pathogenicity/physiology Wales/epidemiology England Escherichia coli O157 Stec Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli Wales bacteria communicable diseases enteric infections foodborne diseases gastrointestinal diseases zoonoses

Cite this