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Four cases of E coli on Orkney after two children at the same nursery contract disease

Article By: Sue Learner, News Editor

Four people have now tested positive for E coli after two children from a nursery on Orkney contracted the disease.

The two children attend Peedie Breeks Nursery in Kirkwall, although it has been stressed that there is no evidence to suggest transmission of the infection took place at the nursery.

NHS Orkney has not confirmed whether the other two people who have contracted the disease are connected with the nursery.

NHS Orkney and Orkney Islands Council revealed that in the course of their continuing investigations, they have identified a fourth confirmed case of E. coli O157.

The fourth case has no symptoms and was only identified as being positive to the bug through the ongoing screening. None of those affected are in hospital.

Dr Ken Black, consultant for public health medicine with NHS Orkney, said: “The nursery team is cooperating fully with the team and all the families who need to be contacted are being contacted directly.

“We would say again that there is no strong evidence to suggest transmission has taken place at the nursery. We recognise that there is no requirement for the nursery to be named, but appreciate the extra clarity that their decision to be named provides.

“NHS Orkney, in partnership with Orkney Islands Council Environmental Health Officers and Health Protection Scotland, is starting to screen children and staff and they are in contact with the nursery.

“It must be stressed that this is purely a precautionary measure. We understand that parents of children who attend this nursery will be concerned and we want to set their minds at rest.”

He added: “One of the simplest things that can be done to prevent infection with E. coli O157 is to wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing nappies, and before preparing or eating food. It is also important to wash your hands after contact with animals or their environment.”

There are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of E. coli infections:

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet or changing nappies and before preparing or eating food.

• Wash your hands with soap and water after touching animals, fences or other surfaces in animal areas.

• Remove and clean boots or shoes that might have become soiled and clean pushchair wheels. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

• Cook all minced meat products (i.e. burgers, meatloaf, meat balls etc.) thoroughly, until the colour is the same all the way through, and no blood runs from them. • Prevent cross contamination in kitchens by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

• Children and the elderly should avoid eating or drinking unpasteurised dairy products. Do not swim in water that you think may be contaminated by cattle and sheep in nearby fields.


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