Groundhog Day continues for Hugh Pennington; lashes out a delay in E. coli reporting — again (and again and again)

In November 1996, over 400 fell ill and 21 — largely pensioners who had attended a church supper — were eventually killed in Scotland from infection with E. coli O157:H7.

Health authorities quickly linked the outbreak to cooked meat sold by family butchers John Barr & Son in Wishaw, who had been in business for 28 years and in September was awarded the title of Scottish Butcher of the Year. … It was concluded by investigators that the contamination occurred probably because knives used to separate raw product were also being used to open packages of cooked product.”

Professor Hugh Pennington was called in to handle a public inquiry.

Then another E. coli O157 outbreak struck, this time in Wales in 2005, killing a five-year-old and sickening some 150 schoolchildren. Another public inquiry was held earlier this year, chaired again by Prof. Pennington.

Then another outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Scotland killed one and sickened seven in Aug. 2007, again in cold cuts, and again Prof. Pennington said there was no excuse for allowing contaminated cold meat to be sold.

Yesterday, Prof Pennington told the Sunday Mail that a Scottish hospital taking three days to report three cases of E. coli O157 to the local public team was unacceptable, adding,

"I’d only find a delay of hours acceptable. Finding the source must be done quickly, especially after what happened in Wishaw years ago."

Maybe one day the good prof will awaken from this repeating nightmare.