Nearly 50 sick in Scotland during an outbreak of E. coli O157
Nearly 50 people are part of an outbreak of E. coli infections in Scotland, which has closed five nurseries.
E. coli has been confirmed at three nurseries, while two others are closed while investigations and testing are carried out.
A total of 47 cases have been confirmed. Officials previously said E. coli O157 had sickened a number of young people in the East Lothian region. Some patients were hospitalized, but most people had mild symptoms and did not require hospital treatment.
The cases are linked to Pear Tree Nursery on Church Street and Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery, both Haddington and Musselburgh Private Nursery, Bridge Street.
The Church Street nursery was reopened on August 29. The pear nursery on West Road is closed, but no cases of E. coli has been confirmed.
The private nursery in Musselburgh was closed as a precaution after illnesses but now E. coli has been confirmed. The Musselburgh nursery in Stoneybank was also closed after reports of symptoms and a link to its sister nursery were identified.
NHS Lothian, local and national agencies including Public Health Scotland formed an Incident Management Team (IMT) in early August to investigate a cluster of cases at Pear Tree Nursery.
Officials said families should stay home and not mix with others until they have gone through the clearance process, which includes producing two negative samples.
The majority of samples are processed at the E. coli Reference Laboratory in Edinburgh, with results taking two weeks. The labs process over 500 tests, so there may be delays in getting results to staff and parents.
E. coli infections can develop in different ways, such as eating contaminated food, touching infected animals or coming into contact with their feces, coming into contact with people with the disease, or drinking water. contaminated water.
Break the chain of infections
Graham Mackenzie, consultant in public health medicine and chair of the incident management team investigating the outbreak, said it was vital that parents and carers self-isolate.
“It is extremely important for families to understand that this is a rapidly evolving situation affecting the lives of hundreds of people. We need everyone to work with us to end this outbreak as soon as possible,” he said.
“If you have been given an exclusion order, it means you must isolate yourself at home, as we have all done with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school, shopping, the playground, or parties and sleepovers.
Mackenzie said after two negative samples, families can go back to normal.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and as soon as enough exclusions are lifted and investigations are completed, nurseries can reopen. However, if families choose to mingle with others when instructed to self-isolate, they are putting themselves and others at risk,” he said.
“As well as staying at home, it is vital that siblings or children who leave nursery, take up a new nursery place and start school for the first time stay home until the end of their exclusion period if they have been in contact with someone with E. coli or any other vomiting insect.This outbreak reinforces the importance of washing your hands regularly, especially before eating or preparing food, and after going to the toilet.
The outbreak in Scotland comes at the same time as a warning from Public Health Wales about an increase in cases of diarrhea and vomiting, particularly those caused by E. coli, in the Wrexham and Flintshire areas.
The agency said it’s important to remember that hand washing is one of the best ways to fight infections. By doing this regularly, but especially before and after handling food, people can protect themselves and others from getting sick.
Data from UK labs show that there have been 55 cases of E. coli O157 during the first three weeks of August. The Northern Ireland Public Health Agency recently published an information leaflet for patients with E. coli O157.
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