An E. coli O157 outbreak that began in August has now sickened more than 20 people, including the first fatality reported in a 3-year-old girl from Tokyo.


According to Japanese media, the child consumed a tainted dish (fried shrimp and bamboo shoots) from the Rokku branch of the deli chain “Delicious” in the Gunma prefectural capital of Maebashi.

More than 20 people were infected after eating potato salad, marinade and other products purchased at delicatessens run by Fresh Corp. based in Ota, Gunma Prefecture. They suffered symptoms such as stomach aches. In addition to the girl, 10 other people were infected with E. coli after eating food bought at the Maebashi store on in August, according to the city government.

Most E. coli are harmless, but some E. coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, bloodstream infections, and other illnesses. Children younger than 5 years of age and older adults are more likely to develop serious illness, although people any age can be affected.

E. coli infection ranges from mild to severe, with symptoms lasting about five to seven days in most people. Symptoms of E. coli include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and abdominal pain. Young children, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised are at risk of developing Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening illness that can cause kidney failure.