Boy poisoned by E. coli-infected beef in 2011 dies in France

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image captionNolan endured years of pain after the food poisoning

A 10-year-old French boy poisoned in 2011 by contaminated supermarket beef has died in intensive care.

Nolan Moittie fell ill along with 14 other children after eating the beef burgers infected with E. coli bacteria.

The frozen meat came from a firm called SEB, based in Saint-Dizier, northern France, and was sold by Lidl. In 2017 ex-SEB boss Guy Lamorlette was jailed for two years over the food poisoning.

Nolan was paralysed and had several operations. He died on Saturday.

He was the worst affected by the E. coli in the frozen beef, which was a particularly virulent strain. He was just under two years old, and the E. coli inflicted severe nerve damage on him.

image copyrightAFP
image captionSteak Country beef burgers were blamed for the E. coli outbreak in 2011

The children taken to hospitals in Lille and Douai in 2011 had symptoms of intestinal and kidney infection.

Reacting to the outbreak, SEB advised shops to withdraw the beef burgers from sale. They were marketed as "Steak Country".

Most varieties of Escherichia coli (E. coli) are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhoea.

Lamorlette's jail term and fine of €50,000 (£44,000; $55,000) - for negligence - were upheld by an appeal court in February. His lawyer says he is planning to appeal to a higher court.

media captionProfessor Mark P Stevens of The Roslin Institute explains what is E. coli O157

The lawyer for the Moittie family, Florence Rault, said the boy's death was "the end of a long torment, as his suffering did not let up for an instant: his limbs were deformed, his bones were brittle, he underwent various operations, he could no longer eat, swallow, speak or move". He had survived with a feeding tube.

The website reports that the strain involved was E. coli O157.

How dangerous is E. coli?

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  • E. coli is a type of bacteria present in the gut of humans and animals
  • Most strains are harmless - but some can cause cramps and diarrhoea, and other severe illnesses
  • E. coli can be fatal, often after people have consumed contaminated food
  • The internal organs, like the liver and kidneys, are affected and start to shut down

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