A West Clare creche has been been forced to close, after an E. coli outbreak.
A number of cases of the bacterial infection have been recorded at the childcare facility and all children and staff will now be screened during the temporary closure.
In a statement this afternoon, HSE Midwest has confirmed that an undisclosed number of linked cases of the E. Coli infection have been detected in the unnamed West Clare creche.
In accordance with national policy, the facility has been temporarily closed, pending the screening of all children and staff for the infection.
Parents have been advised that should their child develop diarrhoea, especially bloody diarrhoea, they should seek medical attention from their GP or Shannondoc at 1850 212 999.
The infection usually requires no specific treatment other than ensuring plenty of fluids are taken.
It can occur through contact with farm animals who carry the bacteria in their bowels or by consuming food or drinks contaminated with even tiny amounts of faeces.
Over 800 cases of E. Coli were reported in Ireland in 2016, a figure which has increased in recent years, and the rates of infection are higher than average in the Mid-West and other Western counties.
Statement from HSE MidWest
A number of linked cases of Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) infection have occurred in a crèche in County Clare. In accordance with national guidance*, and with the agreement of the crèche management, in order to break the cycle of transmission of infection among the children, the crèche is temporarily closed pending screening of all children and staff for VTEC.
Parents have been advised that should their child develop diarrhoea, especially bloody diarrhoea, they should seek medical attention from their general practitioner or Shannondoc at 1850 212 999. VTEC usually requires no specific treatment other than ensuring plenty of fluids are taken.
VTEC infection often causes severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It can also cause non-bloody diarrhoea or in some instances no symptoms. In 5-10% of cases, it causes a more serious illness called Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS).
Over 800 cases of VTEC were reported in Ireland in 2016. The incidence has increased in Ireland in recent years and the rates of this infection are higher than average in the Mid-West and the other Western counties. The incidence of VTEC is high in children under the age of 5 years as it is more easily spread between individuals in this age group.
VTEC infection can occur through contact with farm animals (including those in pet/open farms) who carry the bacteria in their bowels or by consuming food/drinks contaminated with even tiny amounts of faeces. VTEC can be transmitted from person to person, particularly in children’s day care centres and crèches.
Untreated private water supplies are an important method of spread; VTEC patients are 3 or 4 times more likely to consume untreated well or other private water than people who do not develop VTEC. Well water can become polluted without any noticeable change in taste or smell. Householders who use water from private wells should ensure that their wells are properly maintained and ideally install a water treatment system.
For further information about VTEC see here.