“In fact, these types of investigations are tedious, the sequencing work takes time, and the food inspection is complex to find the offending food,” she admits. On the other hand, in 41 out of 75 cases, we are already certain that the contamination was linked to the consumption of a Fraîch’up Buitoni pizza. One feature of this epidemic makes us question, in general the children who are likely to have a severe form of HUS are very young, between one and three years old. In the context of this epidemic, the children affected are on average 6 to 7 years old, an anomaly probably related to the food consumed. »
Every year, between 100 and 165 children with haemolytic-uremic syndrome are reported to Public Health France, which has set up a surveillance system for this disease since 1996. “This is a notifiable disease in pediatrics,” stresses Dr. Investigations are being carried out to determine the cause of the contamination. Public Health France and the National Reference Center (CNR) Escherichia coli (Institut Pasteur, Paris) with its affiliated laboratory (Microbiology Laboratory of the Robert Debré Hospital, Paris) have been studying since the beginning of February. A priori, two categories of food are particularly targeted: minced meat and raw milk products.
Authorities are asking owners of Buitoni Fraîch’Up pizzas not to eat them and to destroy them
“The affected children show the first symptoms about 48 hours after eating the pizza, you have to wait for the Escherichia coli bacteria to get into the digestive tract, then there is a latency period because the bacteria secrete a toxin called Shiga toxin and circulate in the blood, before attacking the organs, first the kidneys, sometimes the brain, the heart, the pancreas… comments doctor Lise Allard. Fifteen days after eating the pizza, and if there are no signs, there is no longer any concern a priori. »
Symptoms begin with acute diarrhea that becomes bloody, the child looks pale or even jaundice, has difficulty urinating, and sometimes cramps. “Parents consult or come to the emergency room, generally if the child shows worrying fatigue or difficulty urinating. The diagnosis is made according to the result of a blood test, which shows a triad: drop in platelet count, hemolytic anemia, acute renal failure. »
What is the reason ?
The health authorities have issued a warning prohibiting the consumption of Fraîch’up Buitoni pizzas, aimed at both retailers and consumers: “The authorities urge owners of Fraîch’up Buitoni branded pizzas not to consume them and to destroy. Each household is asked to ensure their freezer does not contain one. If so, it is recommended that people do not consume and destroy them,” says the Ministry of Health. On March 18th, the Buitoni company took back and recalled all these Fraîch’Up pizzas.