In a follow-up on the E. coli O157:H7  outbreak  in Sweden,  the Norwegian Public Health Authority  is now reporting 80 confirmed cases and approximately 50 suspect cases to date, according to a Folkhalsomyndigheten news release this week (computer translated).

The cases have been reported from several counties, but mostly from Uppsala and Västra Götaland.

Image/CDC screen shot
Image/CDC screen shot

“The development is expected because the new cases are those we previously suspected belong to the outbreak and have now been confirmed by analyzes,” said microbiologist Cecilia Jernberg.

Together with several other authorities as well as relevant municipalities and county councils, the Norwegian Public Health Authority is continuing to coordinate the infection tracking work, as well as analyzing samples that come from health care.

Enterohemorrhagic E. coli infection (EHEC) is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestine of ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats, according to the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The animals do not get sick, but people can be infected by EHEC via contaminated food and in contact with animals or their environment.

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The disease can range from mild to very serious. Different variants of the EHEC bacterium can give different symptoms. You can also be a carrier of EHEC without having symptoms. Often the disease begins with stomach cramps and diarrhea, but rarely fever. Nausea and vomiting may occur. After a couple of days, the diarrhea may become blood-mixed. The disease usually passes within one week. About 5% of patients (especially older people and children under 5 years) develop renal failure (HUS), occurring within 2-14 days. Symptoms may be both unnecessary and bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis), red blood cell decomposition and HUS, other coagulation and bleeding disorders and nervous system disorders.