E. coli O157 outbreak update

Publication Date: 05 September 2016

The multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) chaired by Health Protection Scotland has been investigating an outbreak of the same strain of E. coli O157. There have been a total of 20 confirmed cases of this strain identified. Eleven of the cases are known to have received hospital care at some point during their illness and sadly, one child has died.

Chair of the IMT, Dr Alison Smith-Palmer said: “On behalf of the IMT, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the child who has died. Our thoughts are with them at this time and we ask that their privacy be respected.

“All confirmed cases became unwell prior to the end of July. As there have been no new cases since then the IMT will now stand down and work to produce its final report."

Food Standards Scotland and South Lanarkshire Council will continue to work with the food business operator.

Notes to editor:

People can become unwell with E. coli O157 infection after eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with the faeces from infected animals, or from contact with animals or their environments.

Epidemiological investigations identified Dunsyre Blue cheese as the most likely cause of the outbreak.

Despite extensive investigation, including looking for other possible food sources, no other link to a majority of cases could be established.

As no new cases have been identified for a number of weeks and no one has fallen ill since the voluntary recall on 29 July, the IMT will be making no further comment until the final report is published. The IMT will not provide any further information about the individual cases.The production of the final outbreak report from the IMT may take up to six months.

Advice on food safety is available on the Food Standards Scotland website at:

http://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/food-safety-standards/food-safety-hygiene.

Vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children and the elderly should not consume unpasteurised milk and dairy products such as cheese made from unpasteurised milk due to the increased risk of food poisoning.