Investigation into Carnoustie E. coli outbreak continues

Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories

NHS Tayside Health Protection Team and Angus Council say they are continuing to investigate linked cases of E. coli O157 infection.

These have affected a small number of children in the Carnoustie area.

NHS Tayside consultant in public health medicine Dr Jackie Hyland said: “It has been 12 days since anyone with symptoms has presented and the number of patients confirmed positive for E.coli infection remains low.

“Due to the low number of confirmed cases, we are unable to provide further details to protect patient confidentiality.

“During the investigation, a small number of suspected and confirmed cases of E. coli have been assessed and treated as appropriate within Ninewells Hospital.

“There are currently no inpatients related to this investigation at Ninewells Hospital.

“We have also made the decision to step down the dedicated helpline number on Friday due to the very low number of calls received over the last few days.

“However, if you have concerns about your health or anyone in your family, you should contact your GP as you would normally, or call NHS24 on 111 outside office hours.

“The community should be reassured that the risk to the general public remains low.

“The cases and contacts have now been identified and children should now be attending school or nursery unless they are symptomatic or have been formally excluded by the Health Protection Team.

“Possible sources and routes of transmission continue to be investigated.”

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the name of a family of bacteria (germs) commonly found in farm animals and outdoor environments.

Some strains of E. coli are harmless; however some types produce toxins that can cause illness in people.

Someone can become infected by consuming contaminated food or water, or by contact with other people who are infected, or with animals, for example at farms or zoos, carrying the bacteria.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 include diarrhoea – sometimes with blood, fever, stomach pain/cramps, nausea and/or vomiting and generally feeling/being unwell.