East Lothian E. coli outbreak: Third nursery forced to shut as investigations continue

A third East Lothian nursery has closed amid an outbreak of E. coli centred on the Church Road Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington.

NHS Lothian, along with local and national partner agencies, is continuing to investigate 28 cases of the infection.

Two other sister nurseries have also now closed as a precaution while investigations and testing are carried out.

The health board confirmed that there have been no new cases identified over the weekend, so the total number of confirmed cases remains at 28.

The outbreak is related to the Church Road Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington.

The small number of confirmed cases that had been admitted to hospital have now returned home.

Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery closed as a “precautionary measure” on Friday (August 12) after a number of people reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

These have been resolved without needing medical treatment, the health board confirmed.

A third nursery, West Road Pear Tree Nursery, closed on Tuesday (August 16) after a number of cases of gastrointestinal illness arose.

So far, medical experts have not yet revealed a specific source, but testing is ongoing to identify the strain of the infection and any links.

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Dr Richard Othieno, chair of the incident management team and public health consultant, NHS Lothian, said: “The IMT is continuing investigations after a number of people linked with the Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery reported vomiting and diarrhoea. We are reviewing their cases as quickly as possible.

“Separately, we have also been advised of a number of cases with similar symptoms from West Road Pear Tree Nursery.

“We have asked both nurseries to close, as a precaution while investigations and tests are carried out.

“We would urge anyone who has not yet handed in a sample to do so as soon as possible to help identify what has caused their symptoms and hopefully rule out any links with E-coli.

“We know this will be a worrying time for families and carers, especially as children prepare to return to school on Wednesday.

“We have provided guidelines for parents and carers and explained that it is vital for siblings or those children leaving nursery, taking up a new nursery place and starting school for the first time to remain at home until their exclusion period is complete if they have been in contact with someone with E-coli or any other vomiting bug.

“NHS Lothian’s Health Protection Team is also working with East Lothian Council’s Education service to with those same details to help prevent the spread of infection.

“This outbreak reinforces the importance of washing hands regularly, particularly before eating or preparing food, and after going to the toilet.”

E. coli is a bacterial infection that causes illness in people. The symptoms range from mild loose stools to severe bloody diarrhoea. The most serious complications can lead to blood poisoning and kidney failure.

There is no specific treatment for the infection and most people who are infected get better without medical treatment. However, those who have symptoms, or are concerned, are advised to contact their GP or NHS 24 on telephone number 111.