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Child left with liver damage after E.coli infection

Food safety lawyer calls for urgent investigation into rare E.coli O55 outbreak

Posted on 28 November 2014

An outbreak of a rare strain of E.coli O55 is reported to have left a young child with permanent liver damage.

Public Health England has confirmed that 10 people have been infected with the strain in Dorset since the summer.  

An investigation is currently underway to identify the source of the outbreak which has not been found in England since 1994. 

The bacteria illness can leave people with serious health problems, including kidney damage.  This outbreak has led to the closure of one nursery in Dorset and is said to have left a three year old seriously ill.

The three year old was admitted to hospital when he started passing blood in his urine and had to be ventilated, undergo dialysis, and be admitted to intensive care.

Public Health England is now trying to find any links between the 10 people with have contracted the illness so that they can identify the source of the infection. 

E.coli bacteria can be transmitted after handling animals, from loose soil around vegetables and salads and in undercooked meat.  Consumers and health food workers must take care to observe strict standards of personal hygiene when handling raw food to avoid transmitting E.coli. Children who visit animal petting farms must be made to wash their hands after touching animals.

Food safety lawyer Tina Patel said:

“It is important that Public Health England move quickly to identify the source of this rare form of E.coli O55 which can have serious health consequences for those who contract it.”

“People whose health is already compromised, the very young and old, can all react badly if they suffer an episode of illness caused by E.coli.”