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French E. coli outbreak linked to dairy

At least a dozen children in France have fallen ill, with officials linking the illness to a dairy company.

Since early June, France has reported 12 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Occitanie. HUS is a serious complication associated with E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure and sometimes death.

Seven boys and five girls aged 11 months to 9 years became ill. They fell ill from June 4 to July 18.

In France, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) surveillance is based only on HUS in children under 15 years of age, thus capturing only the most severe cases.

Santé publique France, the Directorate-General for Food (DGAL) and the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) are part of the investigation.

Link to dairy company
Institut Pasteur, Paris The National E. coli Reference Centre found that five of the children had been infected with O26 E. coli with the same characteristics, meaning the source was likely the same.

This bacterium has also been detected in products manufactured by Fromagerie de L’ Aupillon, based in the commune of Trets in the Bouches-du-Rhône region.

All products manufactured by the company have been recalled and withdrawn by date of manufacture. This includes milk, yogurt and cheese. They are mainly found in retailers and restaurants in Var and Bouches-du-Rhône in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

Officials are asking those in possession of these products not to consume them. They add that those who have visited the farm or purchased unpasteurized dairy products should be particularly aware of the development of any E. coli-related symptoms. An increase in foodborne infections, including HUS in children, is observed each summer. For persons under 5 years of age, flour-based foods should not be eaten raw or undercooked, and kitchen utensils and surfaces must be clean to avoid cross-contamination.

The risk of developing HUS is higher in older adults or young children. HUS occurs in 5% to 8% of STEC cases.

Regarding E. coli infection
Any consumption of any related products and Anyone with symptoms of an E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor that they may have been exposed to the bacteria. Specific tests are needed to diagnose the infection, which may be similar to other diseases.

Symptoms of E. coli infection vary from person to person, but usually include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is usually bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others may experience severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications.

About 5% to 10% of people diagnosed with E. coli infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, less frequent urination, small unexplained bruising or bleeding, and pallor.

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die. The condition can occur in people of any age, but is most common in children under five because of their immature immune systems, in older adults because of a deteriorating immune system, and in people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients.

People experiencing symptoms of HUS should seek emergency medical care immediately. People with HUS may be hospitalized because the condition can lead to other serious and ongoing problems, such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurological problems.

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