Rate of dangerous E. coli in Irish children triples

Irish Health reports 13 children in Ireland have been hit with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication of shiga-toxin producing E. coli that affects the kidneys, so far this year.

Provisional figures show a 200% increase in the number of STEC cases in the first half of 2012 compared with the same period last year, according to Dr Kevin Kelleher, head of health protection in the Health Service Executive (HSE).

There have been 212 reports of people being infected by strains of E. coli O157 in the first six months of this year, compared to 69 for the same period in 2011.

Part of the increase is thought to be due to heavy rainfall contaminating private water supplies, others largely in child-care centers.