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An outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) O157:H7 occurred on the Isle of Wight between August and October 2017. Of the seven cases linked to the outbreak, five were identified through the statutory notification process and two were identified through national surveillance of whole genome sequencing data. Enhanced surveillance questionnaires established a common link to a farm, and link to the likely food vehicle, raw drinking milk (RDM). Microbiological investigations, including PCR, identified the presence of STEC O157:H7 in samples of RDM. Analysis of core genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data of STEC O157:H7 from human stool specimens, animal faecal samples and RDM demonstrated a one SNP difference between isolates, and therefore close genetic relatedness. Control measures that were put in place included suspension of sales and recall of RDM, as well as restrictions on public access to parts of the farm. Successful integration of traditional epidemiological surveillance and advanced laboratory methods for the detection and characterisation of STEC O157:H7 from human, animal and environmental samples enabled prompt identification of the outbreak vehicle and provided evidence to support the outbreak control team’s decision-making, leading to implementation of effective control measures in a timely manner.


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