Influence of socio-economic status on Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection incidence, risk factors and clinical features

N. L. Adams*, L. Byrne, T. C. Rose, G. K. Adak, C. Jenkins, A. Charlett, M. Violato, S. J. O’Brien, M. M. Whitehead, B. Barr, D. C. Taylor-Robinson, J. I. Hawker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection can cause serious illness including haemolytic uraemic syndrome. The role of socio-economic status (SES) in differential clinical presentation and exposure to potential risk factors amongst STEC cases has not previously been reported in England. We conducted an observational study using a dataset of all STEC cases identified in England, 2010–2015. Odds ratios for clinical characteristics of cases and foodborne, waterborne and environmental risk factors were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by SES, adjusting for baseline demographic factors. Incidence was higher in the highest SES group compared to the lowest (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19–2.00). Odds of Accident and Emergency attendance (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.10–1.75) and hospitalisation (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.36–2.15) because of illness were higher in the most disadvantaged compared to the least, suggesting potential lower ascertainment of milder cases or delayed care-seeking behaviour in disadvantaged groups. Advantaged individuals were significantly more likely to report salad/fruit/vegetable/herb consumption (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.16–2.17), non-UK or UK travel (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.40–2.27; OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.56) and environmental exposures (walking in a paddock, OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.22–2.70; soil contact, OR 1.52, 95% CI 2.13–1.09) suggesting other unmeasured risks, such as person-to-person transmission, could be more important in the most disadvantaged group.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere215
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Health inequalities
  • Shiga-like toxin-producing E. coli


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of socio-economic status on Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection incidence, risk factors and clinical features'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this