South East Wales

Wales E. coli outbreak: More cases 'expected' to emerge

More cases of E. coli are expected to be confirmed after five people in south east Wales contracted the disease.

Cardiff council closed Adonis Kebab House on City Road as a precaution while investigations are carried out.

Two more possible cases are being looked at but experts have attempted to ease any fears of a wider outbreak.

Dr Prysor Williams, an environmental management lecturer at Bangor university, said this type of outbreak is rare.

"There are about 1,000 cases per year in England and Wales as a total and they usually manifest themselves in individuals, really one or two per week.

Incubation

"It's rare that we get this cluster of cases together and this is one of them."

Public health officers and environmental health teams from Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Vale of Glamorgan are investigating.

"The incubation of E. coli 157 is approximately a week, so if the first cases are just popping up in the last few days then it can be expected that we will get a few more cases in the coming days or week.

"It all depends how many people have visited or eaten at this particular source.

"If it is proven to be one particular source then it all depends on the numbers that have interacted with that source."

Dr Williams said people with the disease, one of whom is recovering in hospital, would be asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire by public health officials as they try to locate the source.

Dr Gwen Lowe, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health Wales, said: "Investigations are ongoing.

"Public Health Wales and the councils involved will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Abdominal pain

Dr Lowe said letters had been sent to GPs and out-of-hours services across south east Wales to alert them, and that more cases were expected to be found.

E. coli is a serious bacterial infection that causes abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

People can become infected by eating contaminated food, through contact with farm animals or with contaminated water.

The infection can also pass from person to person and, while the length of the illness can vary, people are usually ill for up to two weeks.

Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms is asked to contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 for advice.

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