Revised surveillance case definitions: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC)

This revised case definition has been reviewed by the Case Definition Working Group and and endorsed by the Communicable Disease Network Australia

Page last updated: 30 September 2016

This report provides the revised surveillance case definitions approved by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) since 1 July 2016.

The Case Definitions Working Group (CDWG) is a subcommittee of the CDNA and comprises members representing all states and territories, the Australian Government Department of Health, the Public Health Laboratory Network, OzFoodNet, the Kirby Institute, the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and other communicable disease experts. CDWG develops and revises surveillance case definitions for all diseases reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. Surveillance case definitions incorporate laboratory, clinical and epidemiological elements as appropriate.

The following case definition has been reviewed by CDWG and endorsed by CDNA.

The Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli case definition was implemented on 1 July 2016 and supersedes any previous versions.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC)


Only confirmed cases should be notified.

Confirmed case

A confirmed case requires laboratory definitive evidence only.

Laboratory definitive evidence
  • Isolation of Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli from faeces


  • Detection of the gene(s) encoding the Shiga toxins (stx1 and/or stx2) in faeces or from a clinical isolate of Escherichia coli.

Note: Where STEC is isolated or detected in the context of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), it should be notified as STEC and HUS.

Summary of changes to STEC surveillance case definition

Title and throughout

Removal of vero toxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC).

Laboratory definitive evidence

Removal of 'isolation of Shiga toxin or vero toxin from a clinical isolate of Escherichia coli'.

Replacement of 'raw bloody diarrhoea' with 'faeces' for detection of genes encoding Shiga toxins.


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