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Published On: Thu, Oct 4th, 2012

Orkney health officials investigate E. coli outbreak

NHS Orkney and Orkney Islands Council are investigating cases of E. coli. Laboratory tests have shown that there are two confirmed cases of E. coli O157.

Image/CDC

One child is being treated in hospital while the other child, described as “a household contact” of the first one, is not showing symptoms.

A third, suspected, case is being investigated and this case is at home.

Although health officials say all three children attend the same Kirkwall nursery, there is no strong evidence to suggest transmission has taken place at the nursery.

NHS Orkney health authorities have however, decided to screen children and staff and they are in contact with the nursery concerned.

Dr Louise Wilson, Director of Public Health with NHS Orkney, said, “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. Parents will be contacted directly by the nursery − if you are not contacted you do not need to take any action. As ever, anyone with health concerns should contact a health professional.
“We are looking closely at all possible sources of infection. E. coli O157 infections are often food related but can also be associated with environmental exposure. 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.”

Symptoms of the diseases caused by E.coli O157:H7 include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that may in some cases progress to bloody diarrhea.

The infection may lead to a life-threatening disease, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is characterized by acute renal failure, hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia. It is estimated that up to 10% of patients with E.coli infection may develop HUS, with a case-fatality rate ranging from 3% to 5%.

More about E.coli O157:H7

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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