Enterohaemorrhagic E.coli in Japan

John Kobayashi johnk at u.washington.edu
Sat Sep 28 08:55:24 EST 1996

I don't think you will find anything about the E. coli O157:H7 
outbreak in Japan in published literature, but here is 
one of many notes about the problem on Promed, 
an internet mailing list on infectious diseases. 
There are more recent updates than this.

Similar information is being posted on the WHO website.

To subscribe to Promed, send the following mail message to: 
majordomo at usa.healthnet.org

    subscribe promed

For WHO outbreak reports go to:


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 1996 12:58:24 -0400
From: WHO <estevesk at who.ch>
Reply-To: promed at usa.healthnet.org
To: promed-ahead at usa.healthnet.org
Subject: PROMED-AHEAD> E. coli 0157 - Japan (29)
E. COLI 0157 - JAPAN (29)
From: estevesk at who.ch
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 96 15:15:56 CET
Subject: EMC disease news - 21  August 1996
Disease outbreaks reported
(page updated when new information becomes available)
28 August
Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli
The outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infection in
Sakai City has affected a total of 6 309 schoolchildren and 92 school
staff members from 62 municipal elementary schools. Another 160 cases have
been reported, mainly among family members of infected schoolchildren. No
new cases have been reported since 8 August. The number of hospitalized
patients peaked at 534 on 18 July and had decreased to 31 by 26 August. A
total of 101 patients have been diagnosed with haemolytic uraemic syndrome
and two of them, a 10-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl, had died by 26
August. E.coli serotype O157:H7 was commonly detected in patients' stool
As of 26 August 1996, a total of 9 578 cases of E.coli serotypes O157:H7
had been reported in Japan, resulting in 11 deaths. Although most of the
cases are believed to be food borne, the contaminated food has not been
identified with certainty except in a few isolated cases. Analysis of DNA
patterns of the isolates from various sources suggests a heterogenous
origin of contamination.
(Based on a report from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Tokyo) See
WHO fact sheet 125 - Escherichia coli O157:H7. Further information on the
outbreak from Japan is posted on

On 24 Sep 1996, Tim Williams wrote:

> I am preparing a talk to a group of local microbiologists on 
> enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC).  The local newspapers 
> in the UK have recently been reporting a large outbreak of 
> haemorrhagic colitis in Japan. I have been unable to find much in 
> any recent  medical journals and would appreciate any information 
> about this outbreak.
> in particular :
> Was E.coli proved as the cause?
> If so, was the strain E.coli 0157 (Either 0157:H7 or O157:H-)
> Was the source of infection found ? The reports I read suggested 
> radish sprouts had been implicated.
> Was the outbreak centred in any particular area of Japan? 
> Are final figures available for number of cases and incidence of 
> complications such as HUS.
> If anybody can help with this information, or indicate a recent 
> reference , I would be extremely grateful.
> Please excuse any inadvertant breaches of etiquette in the above.

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