NHS Lothian has joined forces with local and national partner agencies to investigate a cluster of cases of E.coli linked to Church Street Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington.

The number of confirmed cases stands at 28. Most cases have had mild symptoms and have not required hospital treatment. However, a small number of confirmed cases were admitted to hospital but all have now returned home. 

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.

As cases have been confined to Church Street Pear Tree Nursery, respective households, or other close contacts, it has closed as a precautionary measure while the investigations continue. The multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) will continue to work closely with the nursery to ensure it is safe for children to return.

The IMT is also now working with two other sister nurseries in the same town after a number of people reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. Both Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery and West Road Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington are now closed as a precautionary measure.

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”.