Published Date: 2002-08-03 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/EDR> E. coli O157, campers - UK (Scotland)
Archive Number: 20020803.4926
E. COLI O157, CAMPERS - UK (SCOTLAND)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 11:21:59 +0100
From: A-Lan Banks <A-Lan.Banks@derwent.co.uk>
Source: Herald, Scotland 2 Aug 2002 [edited]
E. coli outbreak at camp
A child was seriously ill in the hospital last night with suspected _E.
coli_ 0157, a potentially life-threatening infection, after an outbreak at a
Highland tourist spot. So far 6 others, 2 of them also children, were
believed to have been affected while staying at a caravan and campsite in
Coylumbridge, near Aviemore. Health authorities yesterday were investigating
whether, after the recent torrential rain, the water supply
at the park could be the source of the outbreak.
Dr. John Wrench, the director of public health at NHS [National Health
Service] Highlands, said: "Over the last few days, we have received
information of 2 confirmed and 5 probable cases of _E. coli_ O157 among
people from 2 separate families who stayed at a campsite called
Rothiemurchus camp and caravan park at Coylumbridge, near Aviemore, between
19 and 24 Jul 2002. The 2 confirmed cases are both children, neither of
whom is in hospital."
The authorities would not give any further information about the families,
who are not thought to have had any direct contact, apart from confirming
they live in Scotland, outside the Highlands. The seriously ill child is
being treated at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, at Yorkhill, Glasgow.
Hospital officials [said] the patient's condition was stable.
The park has spaces for 40 residential caravans and an additional 40 spaces
for touring caravans-tents. It is not known exactly how many passed through
the park around that time, but Dr Wrench said: "We do not yet know the
source of the outbreak, but as a precautionary measure a 'boil water' notice
has been issued to the campsite and the other premises served by the treated
private water supply, while all possible sources are being investigated. I
would ask that anyone who has been at the campsite between 19 and 30 Jul
2002 and who has been experiencing symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting,
abdominal pain or cramps, contact their local general practitioner for
advice." The caravan park, although independently operated, is on the
Rothiemurchus estate, which has its own private water supply that is used by
In Inverness yesterday, Dr Wrench said it was possible heavy rain falling on
fields with livestock could have played a role. He said: "Certainly we would
consider the possibility that very heavy rain can potentially flush infected
materials into water supplies, but it is only one avenue of investigation.
We have made extensive efforts to contact local GPs and nationally we are
linked very closely with the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental
Health's laboratories, and there is no evidence as yet of any extensive
infection other than these cases we have identified."
The first known outbreak of _E. coli_ O157 was in the United States in 1982.
Now there are on average 250 cases a year in Scotland, with children
accounting for 22 percent of sporadic cases. Normally more than half those
diagnosed are admitted to hospital, although only 10 percent suffer serious
complications. The main sources of infection are: direct contact with
animals or their faeces, from contaminated land, water or food, or by one
infected person passing it on to others.
The world's worst outbreak was in Lanarkshire in 1996, when more than 100
people were infected and 20 died. It was traced to a butcher's shop.
[Byline: David Ross]
[Although the epidemiological scenario here is not yet established, heavy
rains causing contamination of a water supply from sewage or from a cow
pasture may well be behind this. More information on the Lanarkshire
outbreak can be found in the 1996 citations from ProMED-mail below. -