One of the biggest outbreaks of bloody diarrhoea in the world, affecting more than 500 people and killing 20, occurred in Central Scotland in November 1996.
It was caused by a nasty bacteria called E.coli O157 and it was shown to be linked to the John Barr butcher shop in Wishaw through a variety of routes.
This bacteria can also cause serious complications involving the kidneys and blood circulation, particularly in small children. It is found in the gut of healthy farm animals, particularly cattle, and enters the food chain as a result of poor food hygiene.
People can also pick up the bug from animal droppings in fields, on farms, etc.
This infection can be prevented by taking a few simple and common sense steps in food handling and preparation and personal hygiene on a routine basis.
For more information on the signs and symptoms of E.coli O157 infection and how to prevent it, we have compiled some frequently asked questions with video clip answers (see below). You can also download our leaflet (PDF) on the subject, or get a copy from our Public Health Protection Unit by calling 0141 201 4917.
FAQs - Video Clips
In a special web broadcast, Dr Jim Beattie, Paediatric Consultant with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, issues key advice on how to avoid children contracting E coli O157.
Question 1 - "I thought E.coli O157 was some kind of food poisoning - is that not the case?"
Question 2 - "Why do we need to be particularly careful around animals in spring and summer?"
Question 3 - "Is is true that you're more likely to contract E.coli O157 in spring and summer?"
Question 4 - "Does this mean we can't take our children to the countryside any more?"
Question 5 - "What precautions should I take if my children are around grazing animals?"
Question 6 - "What are the signs and symptoms of E.coli O157?"
Question 7 - "If I have E.coli O157, can I go to work?"