Published Date: 2009-08-17 18:00:07
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli O157 - UK: Wales dance camp, alert
Archive Number: 20090817.2915
E. COLI O157 - UK: WALES DANCE CAMP, ALERT
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 17 Aug 2009
Source: BBC [edited]
A council says it has tracked down about 100 of the 650 people who
attended a dance camp in Pembrokeshire where 2 girls contracted _E.
coli_ O157. Environmental health officials are in the process of
contacting the remaining 550 via letters, e-mails, phoning and social
networking website Facebook.
The outbreak's source is being probed after an 11-year-old from the
West Midlands was taken to hospital. A 7-year-old from Denbighshire
is at home recovering. Both had attended Dance Camp Wales in
Cresselly, which ran between 29 Jul and 9 Aug 2009.
The camp's organisers said people from across the UK and Europe were
being contacted to see if there are more cases. The National Public
Health Service for Wales (NPHS) said they were helping them and
Pembrokeshire council try to get in touch with as many people as
possible. A spokeswoman said they had turned to Facebook because the
event has its own group on the website.
"There were around 650 people who attended, and we are sending
letters out first thing Monday [17 Aug 2009] morning," she said. "We
are also using Facebook, e-mails and phone calls to try to get hold
of people as soon as possible."
Jeff Beynon, who is food, safety and port manager for Pembrokeshire
council, said around 100 people who attended the camp had been
contacted over the weekend. With only 2 cases, "we are trying to keep
all our options open. We are not ruling out any possible source,"
said Mr Beynon.
John Bilsborough, who helps run the camp, said about 1/3rd of those
there were children. He said there had never been any previous health
problems in the 24 years the 10-day event has been running.
"The environmental health people are getting in touch with everybody
who was at the camp to see if there are any more cases," he said.
"With only 2 cases, it's very difficult to find a common cause. If
they find they were camping together or came together or were
swimming in the estuary together, they might have something to go on."
Dr Jorg Hoffmann, consultant in communicable disease control for the
NPHS, said people could become infected with _E. coli_ O157 by direct
or indirect contact with animal feces, particularly on farms and
sites used for camping, and swimming in or drinking un-chlorinated water.
[In this era of social networking, Facebook and other such websites
can be useful in putting out alerts in the appropriate circumstances.
It is clearly too early to know the source of the pathogen, and if
only 2 cases are found, the source may remain unknown. - Mod.LL]