According to Sante Publique reports, as of 04/25/2022, 55 confirmed cases have been identified, of which 53 are linked to STEC O26 strains, and 2 to STEC O103 strains. Earlier reports on 04/13/2022, indicated that another 26 other cases of HUS and STEC infections notified to Public Health France with investigations are ongoing.
These 55 cases occurred in 54 children and 1 adult, who presented symptoms between 18/01/2022 (week 3) and 25/03/2022 (week 12). The epidemic peak is in week 7 (14/02 to 20/02) and week 9 (28/02 to 06/03), with 10 cases each of these weeks. These 55 cases occurred in 12 regions of metropolitan France: Hauts-de-France (12 cases), Ile-de-France (9 cases), New Aquitaine (8 cases), Pays de la Loire (7 cases), Brittany ( 6 cases), Grand Est (3 cases), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (2 cases), Occitanie (2 cases), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (2 cases), Center Val-de-Loire (2 cases) , Bourgogne Franche-Comté (1 case) and Normandy (1 case).
The 54 sick children are aged from 1 to 17 years with a median age of 7 years; 24 (44%) are female; 47 (87%) presented with HUS, 7 (13%) with STEC gastroenteritis. Two children died. The adult did not present with HUS.
The epidemiological, microbiological and traceability investigations carried out since that date have confirmed a link between the occurrence of these grouped cases and the consumption of frozen pizzas from the Buitoni brand Fraîch’Up range contaminated with STEC bacteria.
The total number of cases of HUS linked to the consumption of these pizzas seems to have stabilized since the withdrawal-recall.
French prosecutors have searched a Buitoni frozen pizza factory in northern France, the suspected source of an E. coli outbreak, as well as the headquarters of its owner Nestle France.
An investigation into involuntary manslaughter and deceitful practices was opened on 1 April.
The search at the Caudry factory operated by Buitoni, which is owned by the Swiss food conglomerate Nestle, was confirmed by a police source and the Paris prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation.
Nestle France, whose headquarters outside Paris were also raided, announced a recall of the affected Fraich’UP pizzas on March 18, and authorities ordered a halt of their production at Caudry after carrying out two hygiene inspections. The inspections “revealed a deterioration of food hygiene controls”, the presence of “rodents” and “insufficient measures to prevent pests from contaminating a food production site.”
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