An investigation is underway into a cluster of cases of E. coli at a nursery in East Lothian.

NHS Lothian, along with local and national partner agencies, is investigating 28 cases of the infection linked to Church Street Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington.

Although most cases have had mild symptoms and have not required hospital treatment, a small number of confirmed cases have been admitted to hospital. Some of these have been admitted as a precaution and all are in a stable condition.

Investigations so far have not yet revealed a specific source, but advanced microbiological testing is underway to identify the strain of the infection and any links. Those that have been affected have already been excluded and have submitted samples for testing.

Cases, so far, have been confined to the nursery, respective households, or other close contacts. The nursery has been closed as a precautionary measure while the investigations continue.

A small number of people at a partner nursery in the same town reported having symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea, which have resolved without requiring medical treatment. As a precaution, Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington has also been closed. All parents and carers have been notified.

Dr Richard Othieno, Chair of the Incident Management Team and Public Health Consultant, NHS Lothian, said: “We know that this will be an anxious time for many of those who are directly affected by the infection. We have written to parents and carers of the children affected and to staff at the nursery to provide the most up to date information and ongoing health advice.

“NHS Lothian has a robust surveillance system in place to identify E. coli cases which helped us to identify these cases early and put in place essential control measures to prevent further spread.

“This outbreak reinforces the importance of washing hands regularly, particularly before eating or preparing food, and after going to the toilet.”

“We continue to provide support to the nursery and those parents and carers who have been directly affected. We have encouraged parents to keep their children away from other children and those at higher risk until their negative results have been received”.