Officials Still Struggling to Find Source of Dorset E. coli Outbreak
The number of people affected by an E. coli 055 (VTEC055) outbreak in Dorset has risen to 18 according to Public Health England. This is the first time the infection, which can lead to kidney problems, has been identified in this country.
Ten people were initial diagnosed with the infection in the Blandford area of Dorset between July and November this year. The outbreak has included children from the Blandford Children’s Centre Nursery, two of whom remain in hospital. To date, experts have struggled to find a link between the cases, despite over 400 samples being taken from those affected and family members.
Noeleen McFarland, a consultant in health protection at PHE told the BBC: “Because it’s rare there must be something out there in Dorset that is a source for this strain of E. coli. It has been thoroughly investigated from the first outbreaks, but with the small number of cases, it is difficult to tell people what the source is. Because of the lifestyles we all lead it’s very difficult to pinpoint, but that is why the investigation is ongoing.”
Last month over 60 people were infected with the more common E. coli 0157 bacteria in a nationwide outbreak still under investigation by PHE.