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First Death Caused by UK’s E.coli Outbreak

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced one death in Scotland as a result of the recent E.coli outbreak throughout the United Kingdom. This outbreak, named E.coli 0145 reportedly first emerged back in July of 2023, leaving 30 people, including children, affected and, unfortunately, has led to its first death. 

Escherichia Coli (E.coli) is a bacteria found in the digestive system of humans and most animals. It is mostly a harmless bacteria, but the Shig toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) strain can cause severe food poisoning for those affected. STEC is caused by the consumption of undercooked foods, raw milk and products that have been contaminated by faecal matter. STEC can be spread, which is why the UKHSA advised people not to travel over Christmas if they are experiencing symptoms of STEC. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps and a high fever. Most people overcome the illness within a week or two, but there are chances that it can become more serious - possibly leading to cases of haemolytic uraemic syndromes (HUS) which can be fatal.

The UKHSA, Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have collaborated to warn the public against eating specific foods that may contain the dangerous strain of STEC that has been affecting people recently. As of 27 December, five products have been recalled and withdrawn from stores as a preventative measure against the outbreak. The UKHSA and FSA have noted the following cheese products that may be dangerous:


  • Mrs Kirkham’s Mild & Creamy Lancashire Cheese
  • Mrs Kirkham’s Tasty Lancashire Cheese
  • Mrs Kirkham’s Mature Lancashire Cheese
  • Mrs Kirkham’s Smoked Lancashire Cheese
  • Waitrose and Partners No.1 Farmhouse Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese

The identity of the deceased has not been released, but many others who have struggled with E. coli 0145 have been left hospitalised. The FSA has advised if anyone has bought any of the recalled foods, they should immediately dispose of it and avoid cross-contamination by sanitising surfaces, and keeping fridges at the correct temperatures to “limit the growth of any harmful bacteria”. This warning has become extremely useful for the holiday period as Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheeses is predominantly used in gift hampers. 

The Mrs Kirkham’s Cheese company released a statement on their website about withdrawing their possibly contaminated products until further notice, stating that “consumer safety is our top priority and we will not take any risk when it comes to protecting the health of our customers.” Waitrose also offered a safety warning for shoppers. The FSA and UKHSA are working to try and find the root cause of this outbreak to prevent the spread and possible deaths caused by STEC.  


Edited by Chloe Mansola

Image Parmesan Cheese Shelves by Pixabay licensced by CC BY 1.0


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