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Update on E coli 0157 Outbreak Cases - 8.30am

August 14, 2007 11:09 AM

The Public Health Protection Unit (PHPU) at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is investigating an outbreak of E coli O157 in the Paisley area.

Currently there are two family clusters and two isolated cases.

In the first family, a 66 year-old woman has died as a result of contracting the infection.  Her husband, 72, is seriously ill in hospital.

In the second family, two women aged 23 and 45 and a man aged 46 are all recovering well at home.

One of the single cases is a 71 year-old women who is unwell but stable in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

The second single case is a woman aged 86 who is recovering at home.
 
The Public Health Protection Unit is working closely with Environmental Health colleagues from Renfrewshire Council, the Food Standards Agency and Health Protection Scotland to identify the source of this infection.  There is no conclusive evidence yet, but initial investigations have indicated that there may possibly be a link to the consumption of some sliced cold meats bought locally from the delicatessen counters of two Morrisons supermarkets in Paisley, the Lonend store and the Falside Road store. 

Further investigations are continuing, but, as a precaution, sliced cold meats have been withdrawn from these two stores and we would advise anyone who has bought sliced cold meat from these delicatessen counters not to consume them.

There is no evidence to suggest that pre-packed cooked meats purchased from the stores or other food purchased from the delicatessen counters are implicated.

Anyone who has consumed sliced cold meats purchased from the delicatessen counters at either of these stores in the past couple of weeks and who is experiencing symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhoea (often bloody), nausea and fever should contact a GP or NHS 24 (08454 242424) in the first instance.

Morrisons are cooperating fully with the Outbreak Control Team and this morning Environmental Health officers from Renfrewshire Council are carrying out further investigation at the two stores on behalf of the Outbreak Control Team.

Dr Syed Ahmed, chair of the Outbreak Control Team, said: "We were dealing with two apparently unrelated families with confirmed O157 on Friday.

"On Monday , two further single cases from the same area of Paisley were notified to Public Health. We immediately interviewed the individuals, reviewed all the information and while there is no conclusive evidence yet initial investigations have indicated that there may possibly be a link to the consumption of some sliced cold meats bought locally from the delicatessen counters of two Morrisons supermarkets in Paisley, the Lonend store and the Falside Road store."

The Outbreak Control Team moved very swiftly last night to alert the public to take the precautionary action of not consuming the food identified.

The OCT is reconvening today and we anticipate being able to issue an update in the early evening.


ENDS

Notes to Editors

What is E coli O157?

E coli O157 is a harmful strain of Escherichia coli.  Most E coli strains are harmless. E coli O157, however, can cause serious illness.

How can you contract it?

E coli O157 is spread in a number of ways including eating or drinking contaminated food or drink, direct or indirect contact with infected animals and person-to-person contact.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms associated with E coli O157 include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

Some people show few or no symptoms and for the majority of people the illness resolves within 5 - 10 days.  In small children and the elderly, however, the infection can be more severe.

Preventing the infection?

The infection can be prevented by following a few simple steps including washing hands thoroughly before and after food handling and cooking, eating, feeding young children and the elderly, departing a farm park or zoo, using the toilet, handling animals, changing nappies and handling raw meat or poultry.

For further information contact 0141 201 4429.

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