1887

Abstract

The increasing use of PCR for the detection of gastrointestinal pathogens in hospital laboratories in England has improved the detection of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC), and the diagnosis of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). We aimed to analyse the microbiological characteristics and phylogenetic relationships of STEC O26:H11, clonal complex (CC) 29, in England to inform surveillance, and to assess the threat to public health. There were 502 STEC belonging to CC29 isolated between 2014 and 2019, of which 416 were from individual cases. The majority of isolates belonged to one of three major sequence types (STs), ST16 (=37), ST21 (=350) and ST29 (=24). ST16 and ST29 were mainly isolated from cases reporting recent travel abroad. Within ST21, there were three main clades associated with domestic acquisition. All three domestic clades had Shiga toxin subtype gene () profiles associated with causing severe clinical outcomes including STEC-HUS, specifically either , or . Isolates from the same patient, same household or same outbreak with an established source for the most part fell within 5-SNP single linkage clusters. There were 19 5-SNP community clusters, of which six were travel-associated and one was an outbreak of 16 cases caused by the consumption of contaminated salad leaves. Of the remaining 12 clusters, 9/12 were either temporally or geographically related or both. Exposure to foodborne STEC O26:H11 ST21 capable of causing severe clinical outcomes, including STEC-HUS, is an emerging risk to public health in England. The lack of comprehensive surveillance of this STEC serotype is a concern, and there is a need to expand the implementation of methods capable of detecting STEC in local hospital settings.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • National Institute Health Research (Award 111815)
    • Principle Award Recipient: TimothyJ Dallman
  • This information is licensed under the Open Government Licence 3.0. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2021-03-24
2021-10-28
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