More E. coli cases confirmed at school following nursery outbreak

An investigation is under way after ten cases were confirmed at a school in South Lanarkshire.

More cases of E. coli confirmed at South Lanarkshire primary school following major nursery outbreak iStock

The number of E. coli cases identified at a South Lanarkshire primary school has risen following an investigation.

NHS Lanarkshire, alongside South Lanarkshire Council and Public Health Scotland, announced they were investigating new cases of the infection linked to a facility in Biggar last week.

Following recent test results, the number of confirmed cases at Tinto Primary School has risen to ten.

As a precautionary measure, children at the school in primary one and two will be tested for the infection and stay at home.

Dr Alison Smith-Palmer, chair of the incident management team and public health consultant at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We appreciate that this will be an anxious time for those who are directly affected by the infection as well as the whole school community.

“The decision to remove the primary one/two class is one control measure we are taking to prevent further spread.”

It comes after a break out of cases in East Lothian in August saw four nurseries forced to close after nearly 50 infections.

“We have written to parents, carers and staff to provide the most up to date information and ongoing health advice,” Dr Smith Palmer added.

“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 incident management team, which consists of NHS Lanarkshire’s health protection team, Public Health Scotland and South Lanarkshire Council, is continuing to investigate these cases and potential sources.

Those who have been affected are not currently attending the school or nursery and they have submitted samples for testing.

E. coli is a bacterial infection that causes illness in people. The symptoms range from mild loose stools to severe bloody diarrhoea.

Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea or fever.

The most serious complications can lead to blood poisoning and kidney failure.

Dr Smith-Palmer said: “We are asking people in the local area to be alert for any symptoms they, or a child they look after, may have.

“Anyone who has developed symptoms of E.coli infection should seek medical attention as specific tests are required to diagnose the infection which can mimic other illnesses.

“Anyone who develops symptoms should contact their GP practice or NHS24 on 111 when the GP practice is closed. This is crucial to help contain the infection and stop its spread within the community.

“This recent increase in cases reinforces the importance of washing hands regularly, particularly before eating or preparing food and after going to the toilet.”

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