8 sick; Orkney E. coli O157 investigation ends

The joint investigation by NHS Orkney and Orkney Islands Council has ended today.

The investigation began on August 17 and identified eight cases in all, of whom six were confirmed as having the E. coli O157 infection. The remaining cases were suspected because of their symptoms. One confirmed case remains in hospital.

Dr Louise Wilson, Director of Public Health, NHS Orkney said, “We have found no direct link connecting all the cases. The investigation team have worked hard to try and identify where the infection came from and how people became infected. Although we could identify some general common similarities, we could not pinpoint a common source. This is not unusual in an investigation. We had cases located across Orkney and the national laboratory, using genetic fingerprinting techniques, found three strains of E. coli O157 among the six confirmed cases. So it is not surprising that we cannot say with certainty where the infections originated, or how the cases came to be infected.