East Lothian nurseries closed for several weeks after E.coli outbreak have reopened

Two nurseries hit by an E.coli outbreak in East Lothian have reopened their doors to staff and pupils after being closed for several weeks.

Church Street Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington reopened on Monday and was followed by its sister company Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery on Wednesday.

The nurseries were two of five that had to close over the outbreak which began in early August.

Plans to reopen the remaining three – West Road Pear Street Nursery, Musselburgh Private Nursery, Bridge Street and Musselburgh Private Nursery, Stoneybank – are in place and will be followed as soon as it is safe to do so.

Symptoms of E.coli include mild loose stools to severe bloody diarrhoea. The most severe symptoms can lead to blood poisoning and kidney failure.

Dr Graham Mackenzie, chairman of the Incident Management Team (IMT), which was set up to investigate the cluster of cases, urged parents to stay on track and said the reopening of the nurseries proved that robust control measures are successful.

He said enough staff and pupils who have been through a clearance process and provided two negative stool samples 24 hours apart made it feasible for Church Street and Meadowpark nurseries to reopen.

“Over the last few weeks, hundreds of exclusion orders have been put in place to safeguard public health and safeguard communities,” Dr Mackenzie said.

“This has been challenging for everyone involved.

“We all know how difficult the Covid-19 lockdown and the pandemic has been on family life and that as a result these E.coli exclusions have been difficult for families to accept.

“However, the Health Protection Team has worked tirelessly to contain the outbreak and prevent wider spread and the IMT would like to thank them for all of their hard work and professionalism.

“Scores of exclusion orders have been lifted over recent days which means that some families can get back to normal.”

He urged families with children at the remaining nurseries to wait for the Health Protection Team to give them clearance before their child can return to ensure no possible transmission.

Church Street Pear Tree Nursery was originally closed on August 2 after a number of children fell ill and went on to test positive for E.coli.

The sister nursery Meadowpark Pear Tree Nursery was then closed on August 12 as a precaution before E.coli cases linked to the premises were confirmed on August 18.

Musselburgh Private Nursery, Bridge Street, had confirmed cases of E.coli on August 19 and will remain closed until the clearance process has been completed.

West Road Pear Street Nursery, and Musselburgh Private Nursery, Stoneybank were both closed as a precaution following sickness symptoms.

In total, there have been 50 confirmed cases of E.coli in East Lothian.

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