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Dublin: -1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Two children hospitalised after E.coli bug outbreak in Galway creche

Seven cases in total of the bug have been identified and the creche has been temporarily closed.

Image: Shutterstock/Anastazja Szubska

A CRECHE IN Co Galway has been temporarily closed after an outbreak of an E.coli bug that resulted in the hospitalisation of two children.

The HSE had recently warned of an increase in cases of a type of E.coli called Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli, or Vtec. It manifests as a serious form of gastroenteritis that can cause diarrhoea which may be bloody, vomiting, nausea, and high temperature.

Three children from the Galway creche were last week diagnosed with the bug. The HSE has told TheJournal.ie that two of these children are currently in hospital. Four further cases were identified this week when the HSE’s Outbreak Control Team started its investigation, which involved taking stool samples from all of the staff and children for testing.

“Vtec can spread in a number of ways including contact with infected animals, contaminated soil, water or certain foods, and can be spread among toddlers who are not toilet trained,” the HSE said.

It said the majority of cases of Vtec get better with no treatment and without hospitalisation.

However the most serious complication is Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome, or HUS, which occurs in up to 10% of Vtec cases. This can lead to anaemia and kidney failure and requires intensive medical treatment.

In its warning at the beginning of this month, the HSE said there had been 96 cases of Vtec over a 10-day period which was three times as high as the same time last year. In 2017 there were 927 confirmed cases over the year. The HSE said careful hand washing is key to preventing the spread of this infection.

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Children and staff of the Galway creche will not be allowed to return to the crèche until they have had two negative stool samples.

“Children or staff who have Vtec bacteria in their stool will not be allowed back into creches or other child-minding centres until they are free of infection because of the risk of infecting others.”

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