The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) has discovered a national outbreak of the gastrointestinal bacterium EHEC. Infection has been detected in 6 people, living in different parts of the country.
FHI has started an outbreak investigation together with relevant municipal chief medical officers, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Veterinary Institute.
Two of the six people fell ill in October and November 2022, while the remaining four people fell ill in February, March and May this year. None of them have developed serious illness. They are between the ages of 14 and 49, and five of them are men.
Two of the people live in Rogaland, the others in Viken, Trøndelag, Vestland and Oslo.
The bacterium EHEC O157:H7 with the same genetic profile has been detected in all six infected people.
It is currently unknown what the source of infection is, but it is common for gastrointestinal bacteria to become infected through food.
The people who have been diagnosed with the bacteria live in five counties and they have been infected at various times over a long period. We therefore assume that they are infected through a food product that is distributed throughout the country and has a relatively long shelf life. Interviews of the people are ongoing to determine whether they may have a common source of infection, says Dr. Hilde Marie Lund at FHI.
We cannot say whether this is a limited outbreak or whether there may be new cases. Investigative work can be complicated and take time, and in many cases we are unable to find the source of infection or to clarify whether it is a common source.