Investigation into E-coli continues

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An investigation into the source of the outbreak of E-coli 0157 at an Aboyne nursery is ongoing, according to NHS Grampian.

As the Piper went to press, there were seven confirmed cases at Rose Lodge Nursery - four children and three adults - with two of the children remaining in hospital. A further four suspected cases - all children - were not confirmed.

NHS Grampian said the investigation was not confined to the nursery, whose staff were co-operating fully with the investigation. The health protection team is continuing to work with Aberdeenshire Council’s environmental health team on identifying potential sources of exposure.

Around 40 children attend the nursery at any one time and three children were initially hospitalised, according to NHS Grampian, with one being discharged on Friday (May 25).

When news broke on Friday (May 25), the NHS Grampian health protection team contacted staff and parents/carers of all the children that attend the nursery and provided information about the ongoing investigation and the control measures that had been put in place.

When contacted by the Piper earlier this week, nursery manager Julie Grant declined to comment.

Leading microbiologist, Professor Hugh Pennington, said it was unlikely the nursery was the source of the outbreak, adding: “It is more likely one of the children has contracted it outside and taken it in, where it has been passed about.”

He also said the North-east of Scotland had the highest rate of E-coli cases in the world and that the staff at NHS Grampian were well equipped to deal with outbreaks like this.

He said: “It is very easy to pass the bug from person to person and it is often impossible to tell where the outbreak originated from.”

According to NHS Grampian, E-coli O157 are bacteria that are commonly carried in the gut of a variety of farm animals and can be found in their faeces.

Careful hand washing can prevent infection arising after handling clothes and footwear that are dirty following outdoor play or work, handling animals or raw meat, and visiting the toilet.

Untreated water supplies can also be a source of the bacteria. Careful hand washing before preparing or handling food, and thorough cooking can prevent infection being passed on through food.

The symptoms of E-coli O157 infection include diarrhoea, which is sometimes bloody, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite and more rarely vomiting. The infection is very easily spread in households.

They urged everyone, as usual, to maintain a good standard of hand hygiene as a matter of routine.

Parents concerned about the health of their children were asked to contact their GP or NHS24.