Worldwide E. Coli outbreak grows to 91 countries

Written by Staff Writer

The number of holidaymakers placed under travel restrictions following the Omicron variant E. coli (OVEC) outbreak has reached 91 countries, with 23 affected countries receiving high-risk warnings, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The European Union has imposed 1,185 travel restrictions and 9,017 port of entry restrictions, with 39 outbreaks including 336 cases, the WHO said. So far, two deaths have been reported in the E. coli outbreak linked to raw tomatoes in Ireland.

The number of countries placed under restrictions, country warnings and suspected cases of the food-borne disease has increased significantly since the WHO said they peaked in late March.

On March 18, the WHO said 49 countries had been affected, with 149 reported deaths.

“There has been a substantial increase in the number of countries reporting travel restrictions and bans on imports of Spanish and Canadian beef products since early April,” the WHO said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Spain banned the movement of meat and meat products originating from Spanish ranchers affected by the outbreak.

But the WHO now says there have been only 19 outbreaks linked to beef products, against 33 in March, 14 in February and 14 in January.

The World Health Organization released the updated figures on Monday as part of its regular update on OVEC outbreaks.

U.S. and Canadian travel advisories have not been updated because their risk assessments “are based on the strength of evidence available and do not significantly alter our current warnings,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mexico, the country at the center of the outbreak, has been the hardest hit by the outbreak. The WHO says Mexico has seen 43,849 laboratory-confirmed cases, with 186 deaths.

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