The first-ever confirmed case of infection with the O-157 strain of E-coli bacteria in Taiwan was reported last week.

The Associated Press revealed this week that a six-year-old Chinese-American boy was hospitalised Sunday with infection of the food-borne bacteria. He has suffered complications linked to the infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome, in which the kidneys fail and the red blood cells are destroyed.

Officials from the Department of Health were cited as saying that the boy was visiting from the US during the summer holiday, but that since his condition developed more than six weeks after his arrival it is almost certain that he contracted the bacteria while in Taiwan.

The virulent strain claimed the lives of several children in western Japan during an epidemic in 1996.