This research project aims to develop a microbiological risk assessment to model the risks of VTEC O157 infection by the main routes of transmission.
<p>The project objectives are to:<ol>
<li>Review epidemiological data from England, Wales and Scotland for transmission of VTEC O157 to humans through routes other than food and to compare this with the incidence of foodborne transmission.
<li>Identify sources and loadings of VTEC O157 in animal reservoirs and in the environment.
<li>Develop a model for environmental (i.e. non-meat and non-diary) exposure of humans to VTEC O157 from those sources identified in Objective 2.
<li>Develop a food route risk assessment model to include both meat and dairy routes of transmission.
<li>Develop a risk assessment model to determine how important foodborne transmission of VTEC O157 infection is in relation to other routes of transmission.
<li>Use the model to determine the relative importance of exposure, variation in susceptibility to VTEC O157 within the population, and matrix effects for transmission, through each route.
<li>Use the model to test theories as to why the incidence of VTEC O157 infection is higher in Scotland than in England/Wales and to identify where to strengthen surveillance.
<li>Use the model to test the effects of implementing various policies and the impact of the breakdown of the key barriers on relative incidence of VTEC O157 through each route of transmission.</ol> </li>
Microbiological Risk Assessment (MRA) is an emerging methodology to predict the risk of microbial infection in humans (and animals) through various routes of exposure including food, water and the environment.
<p>Several high profile outbreaks of verocytotoxigenic E. coli O157 (VTEC O157) associated with contaminated food were reported in the 1990's.
<p>However, VTEC O157 infection is not just a food issue. Other established routes of transmission include drinking water, contact with farm animals, recreational water sport activity and person to person contact.
<p>The main objective of this research project is to develop an MRA to model the risks of VTEC O157 infection through the main routes of transmission.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.