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E.coli cases in South Lanarkshire double as outbreak reaches primary school

E.coli cases in a South Lanarkshire town have doubled and two primary classes are being tested as a precaution. 

It follows an outbreak in East Lothian which forced five nurseries to close earlier this year. 

Children in the primary one and two classes at Tinto Primary School will not attend school and are being tested for the infection. 

Dr Alison Smith-Palmer, chair of the incident management team and Public Health Consultant at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We appreciate that this will be an anxious time for those who are directly affected by the infection as well as the whole school community.

“The decision to remove the primary one/two class is one control measure we are taking to prevent further spread.

“We have written to parents, carers and staff to provide the most up to date information and ongoing health advice. We have encouraged parents to keep their children away from other children and those at higher risk until their negative results have been received.”

The incident management team, which consists of NHS Lanarkshire’s health protection team, Public Health Scotland and South Lanarkshire Council, is continuing to investigate these cases and potential sources.  

Those who have been affected are not currently attending the school or nursery.

The symptoms of E.coli O157 can include nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea or fever. In a small proportion of cases it can cause serious complications.

Dr Smith-Palmer added: “We are asking people in the local area to be alert for any symptoms they, or a child they look after, may have.

“Anyone who has developed symptoms of E.coli infection should seek medical attention as specific tests are required to diagnose the infection which can mimic other illnesses.

“Anyone who develops symptoms should contact their GP practice or NHS24 on 111 when the GP practice is closed. This is crucial to help contain the infection and stop its spread within the community.

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

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