More E.coli O157 cases in Scotland not ruled out

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Escherichia coli

E.coli O157 infection can cause stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and fever
E.coli O157 infection can cause stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and fever
Food safety authorities have not ruled out further food poisoning cases after an outbreak of infection from the potentially deadly germ Escherichia coli O157 (E.coli O157) has made seven people ill in Scotland.

Reports from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Public Health Protection Unit of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) linked the outbreak to the consumption of burgers at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena.

However, the link is at present only anecdotal and is not backed up by definite evidence. Other foods are also being considered as vehicles for infection.

Authorities are urging anyone who attended the SSE Hydro between January 17 and 25 and is experiencing symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and fever to contact their GP immediately.

Of the seven cases of infection so far identified, one was from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, two were from Lanarkshire, three from Lothian and one from Cumbria, the NHSGGC said.

‘Investigations underway’

“We are pleased that all the cases are recovering at home,”​ Dr Gillian Penrice, consultant in public health medicine at NHSGGC, said. Investigations are underway to identify if there is any common source.

“While there is no conclusive evidence our initial investigations have indicated that there may be a link to the consumption of burgers at the SSE Hydro and Glasgow City Council environmental health officers are working closely with the vendors to ensure all appropriate food hygiene standards are being met.”

The NHSGGC said it was working closely with the FSA, Health Protection Scotland and Glasgow City Council Environmental Health and it aimed to issue a further update on February 3.

Can prove fatal to vulnerable consumers

Some people exhibit few symptoms of E.coli O157​ infection and most infected people recover within five to 10 days. However, infection can prove fatal to vulnerable consumers, such as young children or the elderly.

A serious outbreak of E.coli O157​ in Wales in 2005 affected more than 150 people and resulted in the death of five-year-old Mason Jones.

Leading microbiologist professor Hugh Pennington, who lead a review into the handling of the 2005 outbreak, last year highlighted the problem of super-shedding cattle and sheep​ in Scotland as transmitters of E.coli O157​.

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