Limerick childcare facilities reopen after e.coli scare

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

A CRECHE and two childminding facilities in the Mid-West have re-opened following an e.coli scare, the HSE has confirmed.

A CRECHE and two childminding facilities in the Mid-West have re-opened following an e.coli scare, the HSE has confirmed.

While the creche in question is believed to be in Limerick, the HSE this week declined to confirm its exact location.

There have been 40 confirmed cases of VTEC e.coli cases in the Mid-West up until the end of June this year. This is the same strain of the bacterium which resulted in the temporary closure of a childcare facility in Castletroy last November.

While deaths are rare, VTEC e.coli can lead to fatal kidney complications in a small minority of cases.

“Cases were identified among children attending two registered child minders and one crèche in the Mid-West. These facilities were closed as a precautionary measure while screening of staff and children in these facilities was undertaken. These facilities have since re-opened,” a HSE spokesperson said.

“It is not unusual to have cases of e.coli in the community and all probable and confirmed cases are investigated. All such cases are notified to the HSE and appropriate public health actions are taken to identify linked cases and to prevent further spread.”

The HSE has set up an expert group to combat the trebling of confirmed VTEC cases this year. Of the 212 cases nationally, almost one fifth were reported in Limerick, Clare or North Tipperary, which account for less than 10 per cent of the population.

This year’s rains, and the contamination of rural water supplies, are being put forward as one possible explanation for the rise in cases, although the HSE also points to more accurate lab testing methods.