E. coli O157:H7 Not Found to Up Death, Cardiovascular Events

Cardiovascular disease, death not up for those with severe versus no gastroenteritis

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Following a 2000 outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, there has been no increase noted in the risk of cardiovascular disease or death, according to research published online Nov. 19 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Patricia Hizo-Abes, from Western University in London, Canada, and colleagues examined the risk of cardiovascular disease following an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Walkerton, Canada, in May 2000. Four groups of adults were included in the analyses: 153 with severe gastroenteritis, 414 with mild gastroenteritis, and 331 with no gastroenteritis; all from Walkerton, and 11,263 residents from the surrounding communities who were unaffected by the outbreak.

During 2000 to 2008, the researchers found that 9.7 percent of adults died or experienced a major cardiovascular event. The risk of death or cardiovascular event was not increased for Walkerton participants with severe (hazard ratio [HR], 0.74; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.38 to 1.43) or mild gastroenteritis (HR, 0.64; 95 percent CI, 0.42 to 0.98), compared with residents of the surrounding communities. Participants from Walkerton with mild or severe gastroenteritis had no increased risk of death or cardiovascular event compared to those with no gastroenteritis.

"This study provides evidence that the risk of major cardiovascular events was not higher in Walkerton in the decade following the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak," the authors write. "This may be partly explained by active surveillance and treatment for conditions such as hypertension, which may prevent cardiovascular events."

Two authors have provided medical expert testimony on hemolytic uremic syndrome in the United States.

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