Combining risk assessment and epidemiological risk factors to elucidate the sources of human E-coli O157 infection

O. Rotariu, I. D. Ogden, L. MacRitchie, K. J. Forbes, A. P. Williams, P. Cross, C. J. Hunter, P. F. M. Teunis, N. J. C. Strachan

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16 Citations (Scopus)


E. coil O157 can be transmitted to humans by three primary (foodborne, environmental, waterborne) and one secondary (person-to-person transmission) pathways. A regression model and quantitative microbiological risk assessments (QMRAs) were applied to determine the relative importance of the primary transmission pathways in NE Scotland. Both approaches indicated that waterborne infection was the least important but it was unclear whether food or the environment was the main source of infection. The QMRAs over-predicted the number of cases by a factor of 30 and this could be because all E. coil O157 strains may not be equally infective and/or the level of infectivity in the dose response model was too high. The efficacy of potential risk mitigation strategies to reduce human exposure to E. coli O157 using QM RAs was simulated. Risk mitigation strategies focusing on food and environment are likely to have the biggest impact on infection figures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1414-1429
Number of pages16
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number8
Early online date27 Sep 2011
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • beefburgers
  • E. coli O157
  • epidemiology
  • food poisoning
  • risk assessment
  • waterborne infection

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