Tell us where deadly E.coli bug struck

North Wales Weekly News - - NEWS - BY DAVID POW­ELL

AL­MOST 70 peo­ple have been tested for E.coli since an out­break be­gan in North Wales.

The fig­ure was re­vealed as it emerged the Conwy child­care providers hit by the po­ten­tially deadly bug have now re­opened.

Three chil­dren in the county were suf­fer­ing from the bug but are now said to be re­cov­er­ing well.

Cllr Phil Ed­wards, Conwy’s cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing, so­cial care and health, called for Public Health Wales (PHW) to be more open about where the out­break was in or­der to re­as­sure the public.

Dr Chris White­side, PHW’s con­sul­tant in com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease con­trol, said last Fri­day: “So far, 69 in­di­vid­u­als have re­ceived neg­a­tive re­sults and no fur­ther cases of E.coli O157 have been iden­ti­fied.

“Public Health Wales and Conwy County Bor­ough Coun­cil can con­firm that the child­care set­tings which closed vol­un­tar­ily whilst screen­ing for E.coli O157 was car­ried out have re-opened.

“There is no sug­ges­tion that the in­fec­tion has been trans­mit­ted within those set­tings, so the es­tab­lish­ments have re­opened.

“The three con­firmed cases are re­cov­er­ing at home and will not re­turn to the child­care set­tings un­til test­ing con­firms they are clear of the in­fec­tion.”

PHW says “all rel­e­vant staff and chil­dren” have been screened for the in­fec­tion as a pre­cau­tion.

Dr White­side added: “It is not un­com­mon for out­breaks of E.coli O157 to be as­so­ci­ated with chil­dren hav­ing con­tact with farm an­i­mals. The in­fec­tion can also be con­tracted by eat­ing con­tam­i­nated food or drink­ing un­pas­teurised milk.”

Dr White­side de­scribed E.coli 0157 as a “very se­ri­ous in­fec­tion” which causes se­vere di­ar­rhoea, ab­dom­i­nal cramps and fever. He said the in­fec­tion can cause kid­ney fail­ure in chil­dren which can prove fa­tal.

Cllr Ed­wards said: “I have writ­ten to Public Health Wales ask­ing them to re­con­sider their cur­rent po­si­tion and to pro­vide re­as­sur­ance to those ar­eas of Conwy not af­fected by this out­break.

“I hold the view that it is bet­ter to have these is­sues out in the open in or­der to con­tain the sit­u­a­tion and pre­vent the spread of wider alarm.”

But he stressed that pa­tients must re­main anony­mous, adding: “Clearly, public bod­ies need to pro­tect in­di­vid­u­als in­volved.

“At the same time as safe­guard­ing them from un­wel­come in­tru­sion, there is a wider need to bal­ance this with pro­vid­ing re­as­sur­ance to the ar­eas that are not af­fected. At the mo­ment, we do not know which ar­eas are and which ar­eas are not af­fected.”

Nu­mer­ous child­care providers told the Daily Post that they would like to know where the out­break was.

But a PHW spokes­woman said letters have been sent to any­one af­fected.

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