The American Nurses Association Dept. of Nursing Practice and Policy has received the following Health Advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring a large outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 (STEC O104:H4) infections ongoing in Germany. The responsible strain shares virulence characteristics withinfections ongoing in Germany. The responsible strain shares virulence characteristics with enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC). As of May 31, 2011, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 470 patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS (a severe condition associated with STEC infection that can lead to kidney failure), and nine deaths. The strain of STEC that is causing this illness, STEC O104:H4 is very rare. The illness that it causes is similar to that caused by E. coli O157:H7 or STEC O157:H7, which is also a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
CDC is not aware of any cases of STEC O104:H4 infection ever being previously reported in the United States. However, as of May 31, 2011, three cases of HUS in the United States have been reported in persons who recently traveled to Hamburg, Germany. CDC is working with state health departments to learn more about these suspected cases and obtain bacterial isolates for further characterization.
CDC has recommended that any person who has recently traveled to Germany and has signs or symptoms of STEC infection, or HUS, should seek medical care and let the medical provider know about the outbreak of STEC infections in Germany and the importance of being tested for STEC infection.