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Epidemiol Infect. Oct 2005; 133(5): 845–852.
PMCID: PMC2870315

Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) infections in Finland during 1998-2002: a population-based surveillance study.


During 1998-2002, 124 microbiologically confirmed infections caused by shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) were reported in Finland. Of these, 25 (20%) were associated with recent foreign travel. Temporal, geographical and type distribution of the domestically acquired infections (n=99) caused by strains of serogroup O157 (n=52) and non-O157 (n=47) were analysed further. The median age of the patients was 6.8 years (range 0.2-73.1 years). Of the index cases within 26 families, 71% were <5 years old. Family-related infections accounted for 49%, sporadic infections 39%, and 11% were associated with three clusters. Only strains of serogroup O157 carrying eae and stx 2 or its variants caused separate clusters. The incidence of STEC infections was at its highest (0.64/100000) in 1998. Since 1999 it has declined considerably (0.17/100000 in 2002). STEC infections occurred in 14 hospital districts, mostly (28%) in the Helsinki region. However, the incidence was highest (10.3) in northwest Finland.

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