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Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) infections in Finland during 1998–2002: a population-based surveillance study

  • M. EKLUND (a1), J. P. NUORTI (a2), P. RUUTU (a2) and A. SIITONEN (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 09 May 2005

During 1998–2002, 124 microbiologically confirmed infections caused by shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) were reported in Finland. Of these, 25 (20%) were associated with recent foreign travel. Temporal, geographical and type distribution of the domestically acquired infections (n=99) caused by strains of serogroup O157 (n=52) and non-O157 (n=47) were analysed further. The median age of the patients was 6·8 years (range 0·2–73·1 years). Of the index cases within 26 families, 71% were <5 years old. Family-related infections accounted for 49%, sporadic infections 39%, and 11% were associated with three clusters. Only strains of serogroup O157 carrying eae and stx2 or its variants caused separate clusters. The incidence of STEC infections was at its highest (0·64/100000) in 1998. Since 1999 it has declined considerably (0·17/100000 in 2002). STEC infections occurred in 14 hospital districts, mostly (28%) in the Helsinki region. However, the incidence was highest (10·3) in northwest Finland.

Corresponding author
National Public Health Institute, Enteric Bacteria Laboratory, Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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