Epidemiology and Infection

Outbreaks of food poisoning in adults due to Escherichia coli O111 and campylobacter associated with coach trips to northern France

J. P. WIGHT a1, P. RHODES a2, P. A. CHAPMAN a3, S. M. LEE a3 and P. FINNER a3
a1 Directorate of Policy and Public Health, Sheffield Health Authority, 5 Old Fulwood Road, Sheffield S10 3TG
a2 Public and Environmental Health Department, Sheffield City Council, Town Hall Chambers, Barkers Pool, Sheffield S1 1EN
a3 Public Health Laboratory, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7BQ


Thirty-seven out of 48 people on a coach excursion to northern France developed gastrointestinal symptoms within 4 days of the trip. Twenty-six had stool samples positive for Escherichia coli O111, 8 were also positive for Campylobacter species, and 1 was positive for campylobacter alone. Strains of E. coli were positive for the effacing and attaching protein (eaeA) gene, but negative for other E. coli virulence genes, and therefore belonged to the enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) group. Twenty-two out of 37 people in a second party which followed the same itinerary 2 weeks later also became ill. One had a stool sample positive for E. coli O111. Analytical epidemiology suggested that the source of infections was a restaurant in northern France at which both parties had eaten.

(Accepted February 10 1997)

Author for correspondence: Dr J. P. Wight, Wakefield Health Authority, White Rose House, West Parade, Wakefield, WF1 1LT.