Suspected case of E coli infection reported to parents of children in a Laois creche

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Suspected case of E coli infection reported in a Laois creche

E.coli bacteria

A suspected case of a dangerous E coli infection in a Laois child attending a creche was reported to parents of the facility last weekend.

Parents of children at Sonas Community Childcare Centre in Mountmellick were informed this week that a child attending it was suspected to have a dangerous strain called VTEC E coli.

The creche was informed last Friday by the Department of Public Health and it then informed parents last Saturday June 9 and Monday June 11.

In a letter from the department, parents were told to contact it if their child got diarrhoea at any stage since May 11.

The manager Catriona O'Hearne said the case is not classed as an outbreak as it is only one case which was not confirmed.

"We are working with the Department of Public Health and they advised us to stay open. We are following all policies and procedures on infection control, and taking precautionary measures. We first contacted parents of the baby room on Saturday. On Monday morning we issued the department's letter to all parents as we felt it was in the best interests of everyone to keep them informed," she told the Leinster Express.

"If parents are concerned they can contact their GP or the number on the letter," Ms O'Hearne said.

It is since understood that the child has been diagnosed and has E coli but not the more dangerous VTEC E coli, which comes from farm animals.  Read update here. 

E coli bacteria live in the gut. Most types are harmless but others can cause serious
illness. Babies and young children are at very high risk because their immune systems are still developing. It is spread through contact with faeces or vomit.

Symptoms of E coli infection include tummy cramps, diarrhoea, which can be bloody, and kidney failure, especially in young children.

Creches are obliged to contact the Department of Health for advice if a child has E Coli. The Department is also obliged to contact possibly affected parties if VTEC E coli is suspected.

The Sonas community childcare centre caters from children from babies to afterschool care.