top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Child in France dies of E.coli infection as outbreak monitored

Health authorities have not released more information about the child that has died, but 13 other cases in children have prompted a nationwide investigation into the possible source

A raw minced beef steak haché burger

E.coli can be passed on via infected, undercooked or raw food such as minced beef or unpasteurised milk Pic: istetiana / Shutterstock

Health authorities in France are monitoring an outbreak of E.coli following the death of a child and the detection of 13 cases across the country.

Santé publique France (SPF) issued the alert after the contaminations were first noticed at the beginning of February. The authority has confirmed that one child has died, but has not released information of the date of the death, location, or the age of the child.

Among children aged 1-15, there have been: 

  • 5 cases reported in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

  • 3 cases in Hauts-de-France

  • 3 cases in Ile-de-France 

  • 1 case in Brittany

  • 1 case in Pays de la Loire.

All of the children were affected by haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a potentially serious disease in young children, most often caused by food. 

It is usually characterised by severe diarrhoea, which can lead to acute renal failure, and usually caused by bacteria belonging to the Escherichia coli (E.coli) family.

The SPF inquiry is looking into every report of similar cases as they are reported to paediatric units, and is aiming to “identify a common source of contamination and put appropriate measures in place”.

It has “not excluded any possibility at this stage”, it said.

E.coli is often spread by eating raw or undercooked contaminated food, contaminated hands being brought to the mouth, touching animals carrying the bacteria, or contact with an already-infected person via touch, if that person has infected stools and has not washed their hands properly after excretion.

Most strains of the bacteria do not cause any issues for humans, but some are more dangerous than others, especially those dubbed “Enterohemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC)”. This causes severe intestinal infection.

SPF has been monitoring HUS since 1996, with around 100-165 cases reported in children each year. Foods such as steak haché and products containing raw, unpasteurised milk present a particular risk.

Related articles

Ground beef products recalled by French supermarkets over E. coli risk

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now