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E.coli bug returns to haunt village school; Children found to have infection on their return.

Byline: By GARETH LLEWELLYN

A NUMBER of new cases of the E.coli bug were last night identified among pupils of a South Wales school closed last week by health officials.

An undisclosed number of children at Abercynon Infants school are found to have the O157 strain of the infection, after every pupil was screened earlier this week.

The news comes as pupils given the all-clear from the tests were allowed to return back to school yesterday for the first time since it was shut down last weekend, and given a deep clean to eliminate any possible traces of the bug.

Samples were collected from the 64 children at the school on Monday, after a number were found to have the O157 E.coli strain last week.

A spokesman for the Outbreak Control Team said: "The results of tests over the last few days have shown that a number of pupils have got the E.coli bug.

"We are not giving details of how many pupils are affected as it could lead to their identification, but we are only talking about a small number." He added: "This is the first day that pupils in the clear are able to return to school. We anticipate that the majority of pupils will be back in school by the beginning of next week."

Abercynon Infants is only the second school shut as a result of the current outbreak, which has affected 42 schools, and one which had no previous link to the bug.

Abercynon Infants is not being counted in the total number of schools affected because health officials say the cases there are secondary and not as a result of suspect food.

Last month five-year-old Mason Jones, from Deri, Bargoed, became the first victim of the E.coli bug which has so far affected 163 people, mainly children, spread across 42 schools in the south Wales valleys.

Yesterday it was announced that Professor Hugh Pennington was chosen by a committee of AMs to lead the inquiry into the outbreak in South Wales.

Prof Hugh Pennington headed the inquiry into the outbreak in Scotland which killed 17 people in 1996
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 11, 2005
Words:357
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