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General outbreaks of vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli O157 in England and Wales from 1992 to 1994.We have reviewed all general outbreaks of infection due to Vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) O157 reported in England and Wales from 1992 to 1994. One hundred and seventy-three people were affected in 18 outbreaks, compared with 76 people in seven outbreaks in the preceding three years (1989 to 1991). Outbreaks occurred throughout England and Wales. Thirty-eight per cent of cases were admitted to hospital, 21% developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, and 3% died. VTEC O157 infection causes particular concern because of its serious complications--haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome, its capacity to spread from person to person as well as by food and water, and its reservoir in dairy and beef cattle.
MRSA bacteraemia: North/South study of MRSA in Ireland 1999.Retrospective aggregate data on all Staphylococcus aureus isolates recovered from blood cultures during 1998 were collected in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland (North) and the Republic of Ireland (South), as part of the North/South Study of MRSA in Ireland 1999. A postal questionnaire was used to gather the data, and all diagnostic microbiology laboratories in the North and 98% of laboratories in the South participated. S. aureus bacteraemia occurred at rates of 20.4 per 100,000 population in the North and 24.5 per 100,000 in the South (missing data from one laboratory). In the North, 22% of patients who had blood cultures positive for S. aureus had methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and 25% of S. aureus isolates were MRSA (some patients had more than one isolate). In the South, 31% of patients who had blood cultures positive for S. aureus had MRSA and 36% of S. aureus isolates were MRSA. There was a marked variation in rates between different regions. The percentage of patients with blood cultures positive for S. aureus that had MRSA was considerably lower in the North (22%) than in the South (31%), and in both jurisdictions was lower than that found in England and Wales in 1999 (37%). It is recommended that data on S. aureus bacteraemia and methicillin-resistance rates (already available in many laboratories) are gathered at regional and national level for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.
Outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease associated with person to person spread in hotels and restaurants.Twenty-eight outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease, reported as being transmitted mainly by the person to person route, were identified in association with retail catering premises, such as hotels, restaurants, and public houses, in England and Wales between 1992 and 1994. Five thousand and forty-eight people were at risk in these outbreaks and 1234 were affected. Most of the outbreaks (over 90%) occurred in hotels. Small round structured viruses were the most commonly detected pathogens. Diarrhoea and vomiting were common symptoms and most of the outbreaks occurred in the summer months. Control measures to contain infectious individuals and improved hygiene measures are necessary to contain such outbreaks.