The U.K.’s Health Protection Agency has pointed the finger at imported food as the potential source of a deadly E. coli superbug, which has already killed 83 people in the country.
About 83 hospital patients, most of them elderly, were infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacterium and died over the past two years. Many more cases were admitted to hospital over the same period.
Georgia Duckworth, a researcher at the HPA, said the organization’s survey found an increasing problem of infections caused by multi-drug resistant E. coli bacteria in England.
Among the HPA’s recommendations was a call for further assessment of the level of resistant E. coli in the gut of the normal population. If its presence is found to be commonplace then authorities should look at whether the resistant E. coli are prevalent in food, including imported food and especially raw meat.
Their study’s figures show a rise in the number of infections caused by E coli bacteria that are also resistant to more than one antibiotic. The agency is now calling for more surveillance by hospitals and doctors.