NHS Lothian have confirmed that they have opened an investigation after a horde of E.coli cases were detected at a nursery in Haddington.
The local health board says that they are investigating 28 cases of the infection along with local and national partner agencies. They say that the cluster of infections appear to have been linked with Church Street Pear Tree Nursery.
All of those impacted by the outbreak are understood to be in a stable condition and although most of those infected have not required hospital treatment, a handful have been admitted to local hospitals. So far the investigation has not identified a specific source but microbiological testing is underway to identify the strain along with any links.
NHS Lothian say that the cases detected so far have been limited to those in contact with the nursery and their respective households as well as close contacts. They add that the nursery has been closed and that further checks are being carried out.
An additional group of people at a partner nursery in Haddington were believed to have also suffered from symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea but this was resolved without needing medical treatment. As a result of this, Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery has also been closed with parents and carers notified.
Dr Richard Othieno, chair of the incident management team and public health consultant for NHS Lothian, said: “We know that this will be an anxious time for many of those who are directly affected by the infection. We have written to parents and carers of the children affected and to staff at the nursery to provide the most up to date information and ongoing health advice.
“NHS Lothian has a robust surveillance system in place to identify E. coli cases which helped us to identify these cases early and put in place essential control measures to prevent further spread.
“This outbreak reinforces the importance of washing hands regularly, particularly before eating or preparing food, and after going to the toilet.”
“We continue to provide support to the nursery and those parents and carers who have been directly affected. We have encouraged parents to keep their children away from other children and those at higher risk until their negative results have been received”.
The local health board advised their users that E. coli is a bacterial infection that can cause people to feel unwell. They say that symptoms can vary from mild loose stools to severe bloody diarrhoea.
In the most serious of cases it can lead to blood poisoning and kidney failure. They add that there is no specific treatment for the infection and most people who are infected will get better without medical treatment.
However, those who have symptoms, or are concerned, are advised to contact their GP or NHS 24 on telephone number 111.