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Bournemouth nursery shuts its doors after pre-school children hit by E coli outbreak

Blandford Children's Centre nursery in Bournemouth has decided to close after an outbreak of E coli, which has affected 10 people across Dorset including 5 pre-school children. Reports suggest that 2

Blandford Children's Centre nursery in Bournemouth has decided to close after an outbreak of E coli, which has affected 10 people across Dorset including 5 pre-school children. Reports suggest that 2 children attending the nursery had contracted E coli yet the centre had remained open this week. 7 people are reported to have kidney problems as a result of the outbreak.

E Coli 0157 can cause devastating damage to the young and the elderly. One of the biggest outbreaks in the UK involved a number of young children who had visited a farm. Very many of those were hospitalised and required renal dialysis. A significant proportion of the children most seriously affected remain at risk of future renal failure. Whilst we were able to settle their cases recently, a number have the ability to be reopened later on should they ever suffer renal failure.

This strain of E coli is not the same that we carry in our gut. E coli 0157 it is found in the gut of animals and can be passed to humans either through touching infected animals or through it being passed down the food chain. E Coli 0157 has to be ingested, hand to mouth.

The bacteria works by producing toxins. Only a very small amount is needed to cause serious harm, as little as 10 organisms. It is a particularly resistant bacteria and can live on metal and wood for long periods. One of the major causes of spreading E coli 0157 is the spread amongst families where it can be difficult to put in place effective hygiene measures.

In 2009 following the Godstone farm outbreak E coli 0157 became a recognisable disease and so must be reported to the Health Protection Agency. By reacting in this way it is hoped that outbreaks can be caught earlier. Whilst treatment still remains basic (antibiotics do not help and can often hinder) it is important that signs are taking seriously.

A normal course of treatment would be hospitalisation and dialysis if the kidneys are compromised. Good hydration is seen as an essential tool in helping children to fight this bacteria. Ultimately however the bacteria has to run its course and how a child will recover can be difficult to predict

Jill Greenfield, partner with Fieldfisher says "The news coming from Dorset is very sad to hear. E coli 0157 can have devastating consequences, particularly for little children. We can only hope that those affected make a good recovery".

Read more at the Dorset Echo.