Person dies after E. coli outbreak 'spread by lettuce'

E.Coli bacteria (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/PA)
-Credit: (Image: PA Media)

One person has died linked to the E. coli outbreak which experts believe has been spread via lettuce leaves.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had identified two people in England who died within 28 days of infection with shiga toxin-producing E.coli (Stec).

"Based on the information available from health service clinicians one of these deaths is likely linked to their Stec infection," it said. "Both individuals had underlying medical conditions. The deaths occurred in May."

READ MORE: E.coli warning as children face 'much worse' symptoms including deadly kidney condition

As of June 25, there have been a further 19 cases of Stec, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 275 in the UK.

A number of food manufacturers have recalled sandwiches, wraps and salads sold in major supermarkets and retail chains over fears they are linked to the outbreak.

The Food Standards Agency has said lettuce used in the products is thought to be the likely source of the outbreak.

E.coli symptoms

According to the the NHS, symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and occasionally fever. About half of people with the infection will have bloody diarrhoea. People usually notice symptoms 3-4 days after they have been infected. But symptoms can start any time between 1 and 14 days afterwards. These symptoms can last up to two weeks.

A small number of people with E. coli O157 infection go on to develop a serious condition called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include:

  • peeing less

  • tiredness

  • swelling

  • bruising

This can sometimes lead to kidney failure and death, although this is rare. The risk of HUS is highest in children aged under five years. Some people become infected but don’t develop symptoms.