Published Date: 2005-09-22 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli O157, schools - UK (Wales)
Archive Number: 20050922.2799
E. COLI O157, SCHOOLS - UK (WALES)
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The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: IC Wales [edited]
6 days after the _Escherichia coli_ bug hit South Wales Valleys schools,
parents still do not know what is making their children ill or how many
more may fall victim. Health officials were last night hunting for the
source of the outbreak which had made 41 people ill -- an increase of 18
suspected cases on the previous day. 13 people have been sent to hospital,
5 of whom were discharged yesterday, as the number of schools involved
increased by 7 to 19.
Food supplies have been examined amid fears the _E. coli_ O157 bug could
spread. But Welsh health minister Brian Gibbons tried to quash parents'
fears, saying any immediate danger had passed. "There has been only one
flare-up and that would suggest that there might be only one point of
infection that people were exposed to and the source of that infection has
now passed," Dr Gibbons said.
The bacterium, which causes severe stomach pain and diarrhoea, can be
deadly in a small minority of cases. Dr Roland Salmon of the National
Public Health Service for Wales said about 5 per cent of sufferers have
kidney problems. "It's at the nastier end of the food poisoning spectrum.
About 1/3 of cases will end up in hospital," he said. "Mercifully rarely,
but from time to time, we do get fatalities. You can say that about most
food poisoning. It's worse than salmonella. There is an important message
to doctors that they shouldn't give antibiotics because they tend to make
The Health Minister said infection control teams were working hard to find
the source of the outbreak. In the meantime only cooked school meals were
being provided in the areas affected and particular attention was being
paid to personal and general hygiene.
Dr Gibbons said, "The 1st thing to do is to isolate the source. Certainly
statistically, food would be the likely source, but I don't think that the
team have been able yet to pin it down." He praised parents for their
"responsible" response to the outbreak and said, "This is not a panic
Cases of _E. coli_ O157 have been found in 41 people connected with 19
schools in the South Wales Valleys.
[byline: Daniel Davies]
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005
From: Pablo Nart <pablo12@hotPOP.com>
The meat supplier linked to the E.coli outbreak at 27 south Wales schools
has said it is "a frightening situation and very worrying". The firm, John
Tudor and Son, of Bridgend, supplies cooked meat to schools and council
institutions. The firm has withdrawn its cooked meat range, while a Food
Standards Agency investigation takes place.
Meanwhile, the number of E.coli cases in three council areas has grown by
10 on Thursday morning to 68. The Food Standards Agency said it had issued
an alert to local authorities to remove all the firm's cooked meat products
from the food chain. "When we say that there is a link established between
the company and the outbreak, what that means is that consumption of their
product is a common factor in the people who've been ill," said the
agency's director Joy Winney. "It's not proof that they've caused the
outbreak. There's tests being done and we have to wait to see the outcome
of those tests. We're not asking people to check in their fridge. We don't
believe there is any need for the general public to be worried about this
The meat supplier, John Tudor and Son, said that the business had been
running for 48 years and had no previous hygiene problems.
On Wednesday, schools in Tonyrefail, Treherbert, Hirwaun and Treforest were
revealed as having new cases of the E.coli 0157 strain. The bug has also
spread to a school in Bridgend.
Two children are being treated at Alder Hey Children's Hospital and, in
Rhondda, 3 members of one family have been struck down with the illness (2
children and their mother are all in hospital, one of the children is on
dialysis in the kidney unit of the Bristol Children's Hospital). The family
were among those who have criticised the authorities for not closing the
schools until the outbreak was fully under control.
The National Public Health Service has said they expect numbers to rise as
the outbreak reaches its peak, but have moved to quell public fears,
claiming its response has been appropriate. Spokesman Dr Roland Salmon
said: "Given what we know about how long the incubation period can be, then
it's certainly possible that we will see more cases.
"What we're anxious to do and what a number of the measures in place are
designed to do is to make sure those cases don't infect other people and
make them cases in their turn."
A helpline has been set up on 029 2040 2520, open from 0900 to 2100 BST
every day until Friday.
[This outbreak of _E. coli_ O157 involving multiple South Wales Valleys
schools suggests a source common to each school. More epidemiologic work is
needed, but it is important to know if a common food preparing area exists
or, alternatively, if food for each school is prepared at the school but
the ingredients come from a common source. - Mod.LL]
[Elsevier reference: Chen HD, Frankel G. Enteropathogenic _Escherichia
coli_: unravelling pathogenesis. FEMS Microbiology Reviews 2005; 29(1):