What we know about UK's E. coli outbreak as one dead and dozens hospitalised

Dozens of people hospitalised and total cases top 270 over outbreak linked to lettuce found in supermarket sandwiches, salads and wraps

Side & back view graphics on Greencore sandwich manufacturing business 'food to go' supply chain delivery van & driver on motorway in Essex England UK
The Greencore products being recalled include sandwiches, wraps and salads. (PA)

One person in England has died linked to the ongoing E. coli outbreak, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said.

The UKHSA identified two individuals who died within 28 days of catching E. coli (STEC) and said: "Based on the information available from health service clinicians one of these deaths is likely linked to their STEC infection."

They said both deaths occurred in May and both of the individuals had underlying health conditions.

Three companies recalled food products throughout June due to a potential link to the E. coli outbreak that has left dozens of people in hospital. The companies were Greencore Group, who issued a product recall on 14 June, closely followed by Samworth Brothers Manton Wood and THIS!.

The UKHSA said they believe they have now identified the origin of the outbreak to a type of lettuce used in supermarket sandwiches.

The products recalled by Greencore included sandwiches, wraps and salads sold at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Co-op and Boots. Samworth Brothers Manton Wood recalled various Tesco and One Stop sandwiches and wraps. THIS! requested that customers return its vegan chicken and bacon wraps, which are only available at WH Smith.

A full list of the products recalled can be found at the bottom of this article.

E. coli is a diverse group of bacteria that are normally harmless and live in the intestines of humans and animals. However, some strains, like shiga toxin-producing E.coli, can make people very ill.

People infected with STEC can suffer diarrhoea, and about 50% of cases have bloody diarrhoea. Other symptoms include stomach cramps and fever.

As of 25 June, the UKHSA said the number of confirmed cases had risen to 275, up from 211 on 11 June. They said based on 249 cases 49% of these had been admitted to hospital.

The confirmed cases are spread across the UK, with 182 in England, 58 in Scotland, 31 in Wales and four in Northern Ireland – although the UKHSA said it is believed they were infected while in England.

The UKHSA said they had linked the outbreak to a type of lettuce used in supermarket sandwiches. (Getty)
The UKHSA said they had linked the outbreak to a type of lettuce used in supermarket sandwiches. (Getty)

The UKHSA said fewer cases were being reported than at the start of the outbreak but they said they expected infections to rise.

It added that genome sequencing of samples indicated most of these cases are part of a single outbreak. They said their investigation had led them to narrow down the outbreak to a type of lettuce used in sandwich products.

Darren Whitby, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said: "Although we are confident in the likely source of the outbreak being linked to lettuce, work continues to confirm this and identify the root cause of the outbreak with the growers, suppliers and manufacturers so that actions can be taken to prevent a re-occurrence."

The FSA advises any consumers who have any of the products being recalled not to eat them.

STEC is usually transmitted by eating contaminated food, but can also be spread by close contact with an infected person, or direct contact with an infected animal or its environment.

The UKHSA had previously said there was no evidence linking the outbreak to open farms, drinking water or swimming in contaminated seas, lakes or rivers. While the UKHSA has provided a country-by-country breakdown of cases, we don't know which regions have been worst affected.

We know the UKHSA has identified a type of lettuce as the origin of the outbreak but we do not know where the lettuce came from or if it was UK-grown or imported.

The UKHSA believe the outbreak is now slowing but we do not know how long it will persist. We also do not know how ill the more than 100 people who have been admitted to hospital with the infection are.

Bacteriologist Prof Nicola Holden said earlier this month: "There is a dependency on the type of source: the epidemiological curves look different for a perishable product compared to something long-lasting, which may be more prolonged."

We also do not know the identity of the person whose death has been linked to their E. coli infection or what their underlying health condition was.

Some of the products affected.
Some of the products recalled.

Use by all dates up to and including 18 June 2024

WH Smith THIS! Isn't Chicken and Bacon Wrap

Use by all dates up to and including 17 June 2024

Co-op Chicken & Bacon Caesar Wrap

Use by all dates up to and including 16 June 2024

Aldi Chicken Fajita Triple Wrap

Amazon BLT Sandwich

by Amazon Chicken Salad Sandwich

by Amazon Ploughman’s Sandwich

by Amazon Chicken & Bacon Layered Salad

by Amazon Prawn Layered Salad

Asda BLT (Sandwich)

Boots BBQ Chicken Wrap

Boots BLT (Sandwich)

Boots Cheddar Cheese Ploughman’s (Sandwich)

Boots Chicken & Bacon Caesar Wrap

Boots Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

Boots Chicken Triple (Sandwich)

Boots Delicious Ham & Cheese Ploughman’s (Sandwich)

Boots Halloumi & Greek Style Salad wrap

Boots Ham & Egg Club (Sandwich)

Boots Mixed Triple (Sandwich)

Boots Southern Fried Chicken Wrap

Boots Spicy Bean & Cheese Wrap

Boots Vegan No Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

Boots Vegan No Duck & Hoisin Wrap

Boots Veggie Triple (Sandwich)

Co-op Vegan Gro Onion Bhaji (Sandwich)

Co-op Mexican Style Bean & Cheese Wrap

Co-op Ham, Cheese & Pickle (Sandwich)

Co-op Ham & Cheese Wrap

Co-op Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato (Sandwich)

Morrisons Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

Morrisons Chicken Salad PFS (Sandwich)

Morrisons Gluten Free Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

Morrisons Gluten Free Sandwich Platter

Sainsbury’s Peri Peri Chicken Wrap

Sainsbury’s BBQ Pulled Pork & Red Leicester (Sandwich)

Sainsbury’s Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Focaccia (Sandwich)

Sainsbury’s Greek Style Wrap

Sainsbury’s Jerk Halloumi Wrap

Tesco Chicken Salad Sandwich

Tesco Chicken Salad Sub

Tesco BBQ Chicken Wrap

Tesco Hoi Sin Duck Wrap

Tesco The Chicken Club Sandwich

Tesco Tuna Crunch Sub

Tesco Spicy Bean Wrap

Tesco Chicken Bacon & Lettuce Sandwich

Tesco Fajita Chicken Wrap

Tesco Summer Edition Greek Style Chicken Gyros Wrap

The Gym Kitchen Peri Peri Chicken Chilled Wrap

OneStop Tuna Crunch Sub

OneStop Chicken Salad Sandwich

OneStop Hoisin Duick Wrap

Use by all dates up to and including 15 June 2024

Asda Smoky Beans and Cheddar Cheese Wrap

Asda Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

Asda Vegan No Chick'n Caesar Wrap

Asda Chicken & Bacon Club (Sandwich)

Asda Brie, Bacon and Chilli Chutney (Sandwich)

Asda Tuna Crunch Sub Roll

Asda Southern Fried Chicken Wrap

Asda Southern Fried Chicken Triple Wrap