NHS Tayside Health Protection Team and Angus Council are continuing to investigate linked cases of E.coli O157 infection affecting a small number of children in the Carnoustie area.

Further testing on a precautionary basis has been carried out on a number of children and adults, however the number of patients now confirmed positive for E.coli O157 remains very low. Due to the low number of confirmed cases, we are unable to provide further details to protect patient confidentiality.

A very small number of suspected and confirmed cases of E.coli are being managed within a dedicated area of Tayside Children's Hospital to prevent the spread of infection.

In response to information provided to parents, a number of children with symptoms have come forward. Many of these children have symptoms which are not related to E.coli, but for reassurance they are being assessed and parents are being provided with the appropriate advice.

Possible sources and routes of transmission continue to be investigated, including a link to the national E.coli investigation led by Health Protection Scotland.

NHS Tayside Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Jackie Hyland said, "This is an evolving situation. Members of the community are understandably concerned and have provided tremendous support in trying to minimise spread of infection and identify a possible source. 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.

"We are working very closely with our partners Angus Council, the local school and playgroup, to ensure everything has been done to prevent the spread of infection. This has included additional cleaning at those premises.

"The Incident Management Team (IMT), which includes representatives from NHS Tayside, Angus Council, Health Protection Scotland, primary care, laboratory services and paediatric services, has been working hard to ensure all those affected and those who are considered at risk have been identified, assessed and have received the appropriate medical treatment and advice from primary and secondary care clinicians. The community should be reassured that the risk to the general public remains low.

"Members of NHS Tayside's Health Protection Team also visited Carnoustie Medical Practice today to provide further reassurance to local parents and remind people that there is a dedicated helpline available every day between 8am and 10pm. Anyone who has questions or would like further information can call the helpline number on 0800 028 2816.

"The local IMT continues to meet every day to keep the situation under review and decide further actions, if necessary. The team will issue regular updates to the community."

Notes to Editors:

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. You can become infected by consuming contaminated food or water, or by contact with other people who are infected, or with animals (e.g. at farms or zoos) carrying the bacteria.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 include:

Rarely, it can lead to more serious complications. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable.

Good hand hygiene is the best way of protecting yourself and your family against E. coli. Precautions that everyone should take to prevent this and other infections are:

Issued by: NHS Tayside Communications

Posted: 19 September 2016

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