Published Date: 2012-06-20 23:05:14
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli EHEC - Ireland: (LD) day care centers
Archive Number: 20120620.1174251
E. COLI EHEC - IRELAND: (LONGFORD) DAY CARE CENTERS
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 20 Jun 2012
Source: Longford Leader [edited]
Over the past 6 weeks there have been 2 outbreaks of enterohemorrhagic _E. coli_ infection in County Longford, which predominantly affected young children. 4 children who were hospitalised have since been discharged home. As a precautionary measure, 2 creches (day care centers) were closed for a period of time but both have since re-opened.
It is understood the Department of Public Health carried out screening of all other children who attended the same creches as the children affected. This is in accordance with the national guidelines on the management of these infections.
Nationally over the last 2 years, there have been a number of outbreaks of enterohemorrhagic _E. coli_ infection which has necessitated the closure of creches.
However, in a statement, the HSE [Health Service Executive] said there is nothing to suggest that the infection originated within the creches. _E. coli_ infections can be found in water supplies, on some farm animals, or in certain types of food. The HSE also said creches are cooperating fully with the Department of Public Health.
In 2012, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said there were 285 cases of _E. coli_ recorded by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, compared to 199 in 2010. Even if the person recovers from the diarrhoeal illness, they can still develop kidney complications some weeks later. Signs of HUS include irritability, weakness, paleness, bruising, skin rash with red little spots, passing only small amounts of urine, decreased consciousness, and in rare cases, seizures.
Person-to-person spread of _E. coli_ bacteria can occur quite commonly in young children. The HSE stress that children with diarrhea should be kept out of creches and other childcare facilities until they are symptom free.
They also remind people that careful hand washing is the most important measure to prevent the spread of this infection. Longford County Childcare Committee, which acts in an advisory and coordinating capacity to creches and other childcare facilities locally, stressed this is purely an issue for the HSE.
[Outbreaks of enterohemorrhagic _E. coli_ are not uncommon in day care centers as, especially with young children, there is ample opportunity for child-to-child transmission related to less than ideal hygiene. Secondary spread in the centers is also likely occurring as toddlers are marvelous sharers of toys as well as fecally contaminated hands.
It is not specifically stated that the EHEC is O157 or not. - Mod.LL]
[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Ireland can be seen at http://healthmap.org/r/2BYx. County Longford can be located on the map at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wipgs/PGS/IrelandCountiesMAP.jpg. -Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]