Barnard Castle E. coli outbreak nursery reopens

Kirklands Nursery, Barnard Castle Image copyright Google
Image caption Barnard Castle's Kirklands Nursery is now clear of E. coli

A nursery affected by an outbreak of E. coli has reopened after being given the all-clear by health chiefs.

Kirklands Nursery, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, has welcomed back staff and children who have had two negative test results.

Investigations by health officials to determine the source of the outbreak are continuing.

A sibling of a child who attends the nursery has tested positive, bringing the number of people affected to nine.

One of the affected youngsters remains in hospital while seven more and one adult are recovering at home.

'No traces'

Dr Peter Acheson, a consultant at Public Health England's North East Centre, said: "Although it has not yet been possible to identify a definite source, the nursery has now undergone a thorough deep clean and environmental samples taken inside the nursery have not shown any traces of E. coli.

"For these reasons, we have advised that the nursery can now reopen, but only to staff and children who have had two negative test results.

"This is to prevent the infection being re-introduced into the nursery.

"Testing of all children and staff is progressing well but will take time to complete due to the need for each person to be tested twice."

Nursery owner Janice Duffy McGhie said: "We are still waiting for the routine second test results for two members of staff but everyone else, and the nursery itself, has been given the all clear.

"I am delighted that we can reopen and start functioning normally again."

The relatively rare infection can cause a range of symptoms from mild diarrhoea to severe abdominal pain.

A very small proportion of patients, mainly children, can develop a serious complication that can lead to kidney failure.

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