Wales health authorities are investigating several cases of E.coli O157 in young children who attend childcare settings in Conwy although officials believe the source of the infection came from outside the facilities.
Three cases of the infection have now been confirmed, in children with links to one another outside of the childcare settings. There is no evidence of any transmission within the settings.
The affected childcare providers remain closed voluntarily, while relevant children and staff are being screened for the infection as a precaution.
So far, 18 individuals have received negative results and no further positive cases have been identified.
All of the affected children are recovering well at home and will not return to the childcare settings until testing confirms that they are clear of infection.
Dr Chris Whiteside, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, said: “The three children affected have links to one another outside of the childcare settings they attend, and there is no suggestion that the infection has been transmitted within that setting.
“E.coli O157 is a very serious infection that causes very severe diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it, abdominal cramps and fever. In children, it can cause kidney failure that can prove fatal.
“It is not uncommon for outbreaks of E.coli O157 to be associated with children having contact with farm animals. The infection can also be contracted by eating contaminated food or drinking unpasteurized milk.
“Anyone who is unwell with diarrhea or vomiting should stay away from school, nursery or work while they have symptoms and until they are advised that they are well enough to return.”
- Wash hands thoroughly before eating, preparing food and after going to the toilet. It is preferable to use liquid soap.
- Where possible, don’t prepare food for others.
- Wash any soiled bedding or clothing on as high a temperature as possible.
- Provide separate towels for anyone who is ill.
- Clean all surfaces, including food preparation surfaces and door handles on a regular (at least daily) basis with usual cleaning materials.
- If a child is unwell, contact with others should be kept to a minimum.