Two children hospitalised following E.coli outbreak at Galway creche
A creche in Co Galway has been forced to close as two children were hospitalised following an E.coli outbreak.
Dun Beag Creche in Breanra, Dunmore was closed this week to limit the spread of the infection.
A girl and boy, both aged 2, are currently in Temple Street Children's University Hospital where they were placed on dialysis.
They were first admitted to University Hospital Galway and later transferred to Temple Street due to severe diarrhoea and dehydration.
Speaking to Independent.ie, the father of the two-year-old boy said his son had to have a blood transfusion due to the loss of blood cells.
He said he is now doing "a lot better" and is "finally on the right side of things".
"He's been here nearly two weeks and he had to get platelets and a blood transfusion. He was on dialysis for nearly a week.
"We're not sure yet where the E.coli came from but we're concerned".
The mother of the two-year-old girl says her daughter is in a stable condition but she has had a "tough time".
"My daughter has been in hospital for over a week now," she said.
"She only turned two last month. She's stable now but last night was a rough night. We won't know more until the doctor updates us."
The outbreak is believed to be from the Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VETC) strain of the bacteria, which can cause bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea and high temperature.
In some serious cases the infection can cause haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS).
HUS is more common among children under five years of age and the elderly and can cause kidney failure.
Janet Glynn, manager of the creche, confirmed one staff member has also been infected.
She said they are following all the necessary protocol and are due to meet with the HSE before the weekend.
"At this stage all we are concerned about is the welfare of the children and staff.
"We are awaiting test results and are following the HSE's guidelines."
A spokesperson for the HSE said three children have been diagnosed with VTEC, with two of them being hospitalised.
"The HSE’s multidisciplinary Outbreak Control Team is investigating the outbreak," the statement read.
"This requires all children and staff to submit stool samples for laboratory testing: four further cases have been identified this week through this testing.
"Children and staff may not return to the creche until they have had two negative stool samples. Children or staff who have VTEC bacteria in their stool will not be allowed back into creches or other child-minding centres until they are free of infection because of the risk of infecting others."
The HSE said the spread of the infection can be prevented by careful hand washing and advised anyone concerned about possible infection or symptoms to watch the following video: hse.ie/handhygiene.
Asked why it took over a week from the hospitalisation of the two children to close the creche, the HSE said: "The part of the crèche where the affected children were was closed initially in keeping with national control policies for more sizeable crèches.
"The HSE is closely monitoring the situation and laboratory findings to assess the risk, and control measures change in response to new information and evidence as it becomes available."