Prevention and Control of Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia Coli (EHEC) Infections
Records the results of a consultation convened to explore the health hazards posed by recent outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) infections. The report opens with a brief summary of what is known about E. coli O157:H7, its reservoirs, sources of food contamination, modes of transmission, and associated diseases, including haemorrhagic colitis and the haemolytic uraemic syndrome. The second and most extensive section profiles the epidemiology of EHEC infections in eleven countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Topics covered include trends in incidence, systems of surveillance, methods of detection, the characteristics of recent outbreaks, and the measures used to contain them.
A section on surveillance and laboratory testing is followed by a step-by-step guide to the investigation of outbreaks, moving from outbreak identification and verification, through case finding and hypothesis testing, to a range of measures for control. A section on prevention and control offers some 50 specific recommendations for the control of EHEC contamination throughout the food chain, giving particular attention to use of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system. Recommended measures include the use of potable water in food production, presentation of clean animals at slaughter, improved hygiene throughout the slaughter process, appropriate use of food processing measures, thorough cooking of foods, and the education of food handlers, abattoir workers, and farm workers in the principles and application of food hygiene.