Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Dec;20(12):O1136-44. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12736. Epub 2014 Jul 29.

Foodborne transmission of sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157:[H7] via ground beef: an outbreak in northern France, 2011.

Author information

Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice and Lille, France.


Sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157:[H7] is a particularly virulent clone of E. coli O157:H7 associated with a higher incidence of haemolytic uraemic syndrome and a higher case fatality rate. Many fundamental aspects of its epidemiology remain to be elucidated, including its reservoir and transmission routes and vehicles. We describe an outbreak of sorbitol-fermenting E. coli O157:[H7] that occurred in France in 2011. Eighteen cases of paediatric haemolytic uraemic syndrome with symptom onset between 6 June and 15 July 2011 were identified among children aged 6 months to 10 years residing in northern France. A strain of sorbitol-fermenting E. coli O157:[H7] stx2a eae was isolated from ten cases. Epidemiological, microbiological and trace-back investigations identified multiply-contaminated frozen ground beef products bought in a supermarket chain as the outbreak vehicle. Strains with three distinct pulsotypes that were isolated from patients, ground beef preparations recovered from patients' freezers and from stored production samples taken at the production plant were indistinguishable upon molecular comparison. This investigation documents microbiologically confirmed foodborne transmission of sorbitol-fermenting of E. coli O157 via beef and could additionally provide evidence of a reservoir in cattle for this pathogen.


E. coli O157; France; Shiga toxin-producing E. coli; haemolytic uraemic syndrome; outbreak

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center