UPDATED: Public health, environmental health and food standards experts are asking people who may have bought raw (unpasteurised) milk from an Isle of Wight farm to return or dispose of it, following an outbreak of E. coli O157 which has affected 4 people and has led to the hospitalisation of 3 others.
Public Health England South East’s Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection team, in partnership with environmental health officers from Isle of Wight Council and the Food Standards Agency, are investigating the outbreak.
Drinking raw milk from Briddlesford Lodge Farm in Wootton has been confirmed as a source of the infection. There have been 4 confirmed cases of E.coli O157 and an additional 3 cases of Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) linked to this outbreak. All 4 cases of E.coli O157 have made a good recovery and the 3 cases with HUS are in hospital and receiving treatment.
The Isle of Wight Council’s environmental health department has been working closely with the farm, who have co-operated fully, to ensure that the affected raw milk has not entered the sales chain since Monday 25th September 2017.
Dr Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health England South East, said:
“We have been working with colleagues to investigate these cases and hope all those affected are better soon.
“All steps have been taken to prevent the spread of infection further including removal of the milk from sale, and necessary hygiene and safety measures.
“As an added precaution we, along with the environmental health team and the Food Standards Agency, are asking anyone who has raw milk purchased from Briddlesford Farm on, or before Monday, 25 September 2017 to either return it to the farm or dispose of it. This includes raw milk that may have been frozen for future use.”
Professor Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Food Standards Agency, said:
“Unpasteurised or ‘raw’ milk may contain harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning because it has not been heat treated.
“Long standing FSA advice has been that older people, infants, children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems, who are more vulnerable to food poisoning, should not consume raw drinking milk.”
Professor Rida Elkheir, Isle of Wight Council’s director of public health, said:
“I would like to reassure the public that all of the agencies and the farm have acted quickly to reduce any risk and the farm is continuing to work closely with us.”
E.coli O157 infection can cause a range of symptoms, including severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea and blood in diarrhoea. A small number of cases go on to develop a serious condition called Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS). This may lead to kidney failure.
Anyone with any concerns about symptoms should contact their GP. The symptoms of E. Coli O157 infection may include:-
• Feeling sick
• Abdominal pains
• Diarrhoea with blood
• Blood in urine
• Passing smaller amounts of urine than usual
UPDATE @ 11:50 – In a statement issued today, Briddlesford Lodge Farm have said:
“We have always closely followed local authority and food standards agency guidance on minimising this type of risk, and we have also put extra controls in place as soon as we were notified of a potential problem.
“We are still working very closely with environmental health officers and we believe we have now done everything we can to prevent further cases.
“We are especially concerned about the well-being of those affected by this bug, and we wish them and their families every good fortune at this terrible time. We want families to enjoy learning about the farm and we are saddened to think that something has gone so wrong.
“Our pasteurised milk is a safe product to drink and meets all quality and hygiene standards.”