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18 Cases Of E.coli Investigated In Dorset

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Published at 8:39am 12th December 2014.

18 people have now been infected by a rare strain of E.coli in Dorset.

Public Health England say they're continuing to investigate the cause of the illness.

Blandford's Children's Nursery which was part of the investigation has now been reopened.

The nursery has co-operated fully with the investigation.  As routine when investigating E.coli in a nursery setting, stool samples were taken from children and staff as a precautionary measure. Staff and children who tested negative for the infection will be allowed to return to the nursery and those who are found to be carrying the bacteria will be excluded until a negative sample is obtained. Children are now beginning to return to the nursery.

Noëleen McFarland, Consultant in Health Protection at PHE Wessex, said:

"We are working closely with colleagues in the North Dorset Environmental Health Department to identify possible sources of infection. It is an infection that can be passed easily from person to person and young children are particularly easily affected.

"Any infection with E. coli can be very serious. We have interviewed all of those affected or their parents and their close contacts to look for possible causes in the days before they became ill.  This information is being used in the ongoing extensive investigation into these cases.

"We continue to stress the importance of good hand hygiene in families where there is any diarrhoea illness. Good hygiene is very important in preventing person-to person spread and small children should be supervised with hand washing after using the toilet and before eating.

Letters have also been sent to hospital doctors and local GPs, alerting them to the possibility of infection and asking they report any further cases of bloody diarrhoea.

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