Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7

The NH DHHS issued a health alert on October 6, regarding a Vermont outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7.

NH Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS) draws your attention to the following:

Key Points and Recommendations:

1.There is an ongoing STEC outbreak associated with a restaurant in Vermont. A food source of this outbreak has not yet been identified.

2.Healthcare providers should be alert to the possibility of a foodborne STEC infection in patients presenting with acute onset of abdominal cramping and diarrhea, especially bloody diarrhea.

3.Stool should be tested for Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli by both culture and Shiga toxin assay in patients with suspect STEC infection.

4.For patients suspected of having STEC diarrheal infection, healthcare providers should NOT prescribe antibiotics for the diarrhea unless other clinical manifestations necessitate their use (e.g. sepsis). Antibiotics may increase production and release of the Shiga toxin and put patients at higher risk of developing serious complications like hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and they have not been shown to improve illness.

5.Report all suspected and confirmed cases of STEC to the Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) within 24 hours at 603-271-4496 (after hours 1-800-852-3345.

Click here for the full DHHS alert.