Public Health England Confirms More Dorset EColi Cases

Public Health England Confirms More Dorset EColi Cases

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 10:04am 18th September 2015. (Updated at 9:28am 19th September 2015)

One of the cases is currently in hospital with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) – a complication of E coli infection

Three further cases of E coli O55, linked to Dorset, have been confirmed today by laboratory tests. Local people in Dorset and any visitors to the area are being advised to be extra vigilant with hand hygiene before preparing food, and after contact with pets and other animals.

One of the cases is currently in hospital with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) – a complication of E coli infection and Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) O55 has been confirmed in all three cases. Tests have shown that the strain of E.coli O55 is the same as that found in the outbreak in Dorset. Extensive investigations are ongoing and to date no common source has been identified. Close family contacts and pets are being tested and full follow up investigations are taking place.

 

Consultant in health protection, Noëleen McFarland said: “We have a duty to warn and inform the public of any threat to their health and advise them on any actions they can take to avoid harm to their health. We continue to stress the importance of good hand and food hygiene practices in families at all times. It is vital to wash hands thoroughly using soap and water after using the toilet, before and after handling food and after contact with any animal and pets, including farm animals.  Small children should be supervised in washing their hands. We also urge people to remove any loose soil before storing vegetables and thoroughly wash all vegetables and fruit that will be eaten raw.

 

“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. The investigation has remained open since last year and PHE continues to work with national and international colleagues, environmental health teams, Food Standards Agency and Animal and Plant Health Agency experts to identify a source for this outbreak. As a source has still not been identified it is likely that more cases will occur.

 

“We are committed to finding the source of this bacteria and will keep the public informed of actions they can take to prevent themselves from getting the infection from the information we have available at the time.”

 

To date, there have been 30 confirmed cases of this particular strain of E.coli  linked to Dorset. From 20 November 2014 there had been no new cases of E.coli O55 reported to PHE until a cluster of four in May 2015, there was a further case in July and now three confirmed cases this week.  All new information gathered is being reviewed and cross referenced against existing information to determine if there are any links.

 

E. coli is a type of bacteria that is found in the guts of cattle and other ruminants whilst pets can act as carriers passing this on to humans in their faeces therefore hand hygiene is one of the most important ways of preventing this bacteria causing infection.

 

Typically, there is an increase in the numbers of cases of E. coli over the summer months. In order to prevent infection, it is very important to maintain good hand hygiene: washing hands thoroughly using soap and water after using the toilet, before and after handling food and after contact with animals including farm animals.  Small children should be supervised in washing their hands. Any loose soil should be removed before storing vegetables and all vegetables and fruit that will be eaten raw thoroughly washed.

 

The Wessex FM Newsletter



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