An investigation into an E.Coli outbreak in Orkney has ended with experts unable to pinpoint the cause.
Six cases of the bug were confirmed in total and another two suspected cases.
NHS Orkney launched its investigation on August 17 following the initial outbreak.
One victim of the bug remains in hospital.
Dr Louise Wilson, director of public health at NHS Orkney, said: “E. coli infections can be linked to food or the environment, or both, and our joint investigation has looked at every aspect of both routes. We are very grateful to everyone with whom we spoke for their time and assistance, and I thank all the professionals who supported the investigation.
“We have found no direct link connecting all the cases. The investigation team have worked hard to try and identify where the infection came from and how people became infected. Although we could identify some general common similarities, we could not pinpoint a common source.
“This is not unusual in an investigation. We had cases located across Orkney and the national laboratory, using genetic fingerprinting techniques, found three strains of E. coli O157 among the six confirmed cases. So it is not surprising that we cannot say with certainty where the infections originated, or how the cases came to be infected.
“The cause of infection in some of the cases may – I do emphasise that this is theoretical − have included cross-contamination between raw meat and cooked meat or other products, or insufficient cooking of meat products or contact with an environment contaminated by animal faeces containing the bacterium.
“We must all bear in mind that any raw meat product and any environment where animals have been may be contaminated with pathogens, including E. coli O157.”