A Cork creche may remain closed for up to a week because of an outbreak of the E.coli bug, which can cause severe illness, particularly in young children.
Three children attending the Kindercare Childcare in Ballincollig were found to have verotoxigenic escherichia coli, also known as VTEC.
It can cause diarrhoea that may be bloody; vomiting; nausea; and a high temperature — and can spread among toddlers who are not toilet-trained.
In about 10% of cases, VTEC causes a serious complication known as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) that can lead to anaemia and kidney failure.
The HSE’s multidisciplinary outbreak control team is investigating the outbreak and has asked all of the children and staff to provide stool samples for testing.
The HSE said the situation is being closely monitored and creche management is co-operating fully.
The owner and management of Kindercare Childcare confirmed at the weekend that the creche is closed temporarily after a VTEC outbreak.
“Our primary concern is for the health and safety of the children and staff,” they wrote.
A Co Galway creche was temporarily closed two weeks ago after three children were diagnosed with VTEC. Two of the children were hospitalised.
The HSE warned of an increase in VTEC earlier this month because hot weather encourages bacteria such as VTEC to grow and multiply on food.
The number of reported VTEC cases reported each year is increasing — 927 cases were confirmed last year, a 67% increase since 2012 and a 10% increase on 2016.
An age breakdown of the 927 cases last year shows that 361 (39%) were children aged up to four years.
According to the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre, there were 45 reported cases of VTEC during the week ending Saturday, July 14.
Over the first 28 weeks of this year, 579 cases were reported to the HPSC, compared to 419 over the same period last year, a 38% increase.
Careful hand-washing, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of VTEC.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved