Babies and children * Healthy living

Child dies after E. coli infection

Source of infection unknown

A child has died after being infected with E. coli, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said.

The child, who died at the end of September, lived in Devon.

The death has not been linked to the recent partial closure of the World of Country Life attraction in the county. So far, the source of the bacterium remains unknown.

"The investigation found no clear source for the infection and no other cases have been linked to this child's infection," a spokesman for the HPA said.

E. coli bacteria are normally found in the gut of humans and animals. The organism can survive in the environment and is found in animal faeces.

Some strains of the germ, such as E. coli 0157, can cause more severe disease, especially in babies and young children, old people and individuals with a weakened immune system.

The bacteria are usually transmitted to people by eating undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables or coming into contact with soil contaminated with the organism.

To date, five petting and open farms have closed or partially closed this year due to E. coli infections in people linked to the farms. The biggest outbreak occurred in Godstone Park Surrey, where 91 people were infected.

This article was published on Wed 7 October 2009



Image © CDC Janice Haney Carr


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