FIRST STEPS CRECHE in Midleton, Co Cork has had to close its doors after a toddler was found to have a likely case of Verotoxigenic E.coli.
The creche on Mill Road, which caters for around 85 children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years, was closed today as a precaution to prevent the spread of VTEC E. coli and reduce the risk to other children and their families.
The HSE notified the crèche last Friday of the likely E. coli case and all 15 staff and children have been screened for any traces of the infection. The entire crèche will also be disinfected.
A source of the infection is currently being sought but this may be difficult as there is just one case of VTEC E. coli reported so far.
The crèche is likely to be closed until the end of next week or until the test results come back. “Everyone had to be screened because there was a risk to anyone who has attended the crèche, but once we get clearance the children are welcome to come back,” said Rosaleen Cotter, owner of the crèche.
Ms Cotter also told TheJournal.ie that her main worry right now was to make sure that no one else has contacted the infection:
I have never seen anything like this before but it is becoming more common and there’s a real danger because it can be so easily passed on, especially with children who regularly pass each other toys or are in contact with each other.
“We feel sorry for parents who now have to try and find other forms of childcare but we must prioritise the health of the children,” she added.