East Lothian parents receive warning as nurseries in Haddington begin to re-open following e-coli outbreak

Parents caught up in an E-coli outbreak in East Lothian are being urged to stick to the rules amid concern some may be sending children back to nursery before being given the all-clear.

Hundreds of exclusions orders were issued by public health teams in the county after sickness broke out in three nurseries in Haddington and then two in Musselburgh.

And health bosses are appealing to parents to follow the rules pointing out that two of the nurseries involved have now reopened proving the “robust” action is working.

So far 50 cases of E-coli have been confirmed since the outbreak began at the start of August.

Dr Graham Mackenzie, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team (IMT), leading the investigations, urged parents to stay on track.

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He said: “It is really encouraging to see these nurseries opening back up and children being able to return to school and nursery and we would like to thank the families who have worked with us.

“Over the last few weeks, hundreds of exclusion orders have been put in place to safeguard public health and safeguard communities.

Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington is one of two nurseries in East Lothian which has re-opened following an e-coli outbreak.

“This has been challenging for everyone involved.

“We all know how difficult the Covid 19 lockdown and the pandemic has been on family life and that as a result these E. coli exclusions have been difficult for families to accept.

“I would remind families that they must wait for the Health Protection Team to give them clearance for their child to attend nursery to ensure there is no possibility of continuing transmission.”

Dr McKenzie added: “The Health Protection Team has worked tirelessly to contain the outbreak and prevent wider spread and the IMT would like to thank them for all of their hard work and professionalism.”

NHS Lothian also reminded parents that compensation was available to claim over lost working days in connection with the outbreak.

They said: “An adult who has been excluded under the Public Health Act may be eligible as well as parents and carers who need to care for someone who has been excluded. This information is provided in the exclusion letter sent by the Health Protection Team.”

Church Street Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington became the first to re-open on Monday this week followed by its sister company Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery yesterday.

Health chiefs said plans to re-open the remaining three nurseries – West Road Pear Street Nursery, Musselburgh Private Nursery, Bridge Street and Musselburgh Private Nursery, Stoneybank – will be taken forward as soon as it is safe to do so.

Church Street Pear Tree Nursery was originally closed on August 2 after a number of children fell ill and went on to test positive for E-coli.

NHS Lothian joined forces with local and national partner agencies to form a multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) to investigate the cluster of cases.

The sister nursery Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery was then closed on August 12, as a precaution when sickness symptoms were reported before E-coli went on to be confirmed on August 18. Musselburgh Private Nursery, Bridge Street, had confirmed cases of E-coli on August 19.

West Road Pear Street Nursery, and Musselburgh Private Nursery, Stoneybank were both closed as a precaution following sickness symptoms.

Musselburgh Private Nursery, Stoneybank, closed its door after reports of sickness symptoms and a connection with its sister nursery in Bridge Street were identified. All staff and pupils were formally excluded under the Public Health Act and informed of the actions to take.

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 will 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.