Groundhog Day continues for E. coli prof

Harold Ramis, right, the famed director of Groundhog Day – and writer of dozens of hit comedies, beginning with Animal House — must be involved in this.

Professor Hugh Pennington (left, below), who authored reports following outbreaks of E.coli, in Scotland, in 1996, and in South Wales nine years later, yesterday told the Western Mail,

“It’s almost ‘Here we go again’.”

The professor, a member of the World Food Programme technical advisory group, said he hoped his last report on the outbreak in South Wales that killed five-year-old Mason Jones would reduce the incidence of E.coli.

But just four years on the bug has left 32-year-old Karen Morrisroe-Clutton seriously ill in hospital. Three-year-old Abigail Hennessey is recovering at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Professor Pennington, now 71, and living in Aberdeen where before his retirement he was a specialist in bacteriology at the city’s university, said,

“One was hoping that the recommendations would see an end to those food-borne outbreaks or lead to a very significant reduction. A lot of the things we had talked about, people had already started to do on the back of the outbreak of 2005 because it was pretty obvious what had gone wrong. Now it’s almost ‘Here we go again’, unfortunately.”