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Home Eurosurveillance Weekly Release  1997: Volume 1/ Issue 13 Article 3
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Eurosurveillance, Volume 1, Issue 13, 24 July 1997

Citation style for this article: Djuretic T. Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 infection at rock festival in the south west of England, June 1997. Euro Surveill. 1997;1(13):pii=1073. Available online:

Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 infection at a rock festival in the south west of England, June 1997

Eight cases of Escherichia coli O157 phage type 2 infection and one case of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) have been reported among people who attended a music festival at Glastonbury (25 to 30 June 1997) in the south west of England. Seven of the eight isolates were indistinguishable in tests carried out by the Public Health Laboratory Service Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens. Interviews with all cases have identified no common source of food, differing use of water sources, and the fact the cases had not camped close to each other. The festival is held on a working dairy farm and over 500 cows grazed on the site until a week before the festival. The field was heavily contaminated with cattle faeces and heavy rain from the weekend before the festival turned it into a quagmire. Cases reported getting muddy hands and faces and being unable to wash before eating. The cows have been sampled and the results of culture are awaited. E. coli O157 is known to survive for more than 20 weeks (1) in soil samples and consideration should be given to the earlier removal of cows from festival sites. The risks of such infections and high standards of hygiene needed to prevent them should also be brought to the attention of people who attend open air festivals.

Glastonbury festival, which has been held each year for over 20 years was associated with outbreaks of campylobacter infection linked to the consumption of unpasteurised milk in the early 1990s (2).

References :
  1. Maule A. The survival of E. coli O157 in model ecosystems and on surfaces. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium and Workshop on Shiga Toxin (verocytotoxin)-producing E. coli infections. June 1997. Baltimore, USA
  2. Pebody RG, Ryan MJ, Wall PG. Outbreaks of campylobacter infection: rare events for a common pathogen. Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev 1997; 7: R33-7

Reported by Tamara Djuretic ( Gastrointestinal Diseases Section, PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, England

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