Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

Verotoxin producing Escherichia coli O 157 infections associated with the consumption of yoghurt

D. Morgana1, C.P. Newmana1, D.N. Hutchinsona2, A. M. Walkera2, B. Rowea3 and F. Majida4

a1 Public Health Laboratory Service, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9

a2 Preston Public Health Laboratory, Royal Preston Hospital, PO Box 202, Sharoe Green Lane, Preston PR2 4HG

a3 Public Health Laboratory Service, Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9

a4 Public Health Laboratory Service Statistics Unit, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9


Sixteen cases of verotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) O 157:H7 Phage Type 49 infection were identified in the North West of England from 1 September to 1 November 1991, eight of whom lived in or around the same large town. Eleven of the cases were aged 10 years or less, and five of the affected children developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome. A case control study demonstrated a strong association between VTEC O 157: H7 PT 49 infection and the consumption of a locally produced live yoghurt. This is the first time that an outbreak of VTEC O 157 infection has been linked to the consumption of yoghurt and this vehicle of infection should be considered when investigating such outbreaks in future.

(Accepted April 28 1993)