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Parents offer support to e.coli family.

PARENTS of children struck down by e.coli in last yearAEs food poisoning outbreak have offered their support to the family hit by the bug in the latest scare. A three-year-old boy and his mum and dad, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, have tested positive for the 0157 strain of the germ, which was caught by 158 people last year.

They were tested after their 11-month-old baby contracted the dangerous bug. The nursery school at St IlltydAEs Primary, in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, where the three-year-old boy is a pupil, remained closed today. Although no other victims have yet been confirmed, concerned parents have spoken of their fears of another outbreak in the valleys. One said: oIAEm terrified that it is so close to home.o E.coli fears: Page 2. PARENTS of previous e.coli victims have been offering their support to the family struck down by the dangerous bug in the latest scare. After a three-year-old boy was confirmed as having the 0157 strain of the germ, along with two adults, the families of some of the 158 victims of an outbreak which hit many parts of South Wales last year have been speaking out about their fears the bug might spread. The three-year-old, a nursery pupil at St IlltydAEs Primary School in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, was tested after his 11-month old brother, living in Rhondda Cynon Taf, had contracted the bug. Public health officials said two adults who were in close contact with the children also had the bug. It is understood they are the childrensAE parents. Julie PriceAEs son Garyn, 10, from Aberaman, near Aberdare, was struck down with e.coli poisoning during last autumnAEs outbreak. She said: oIAEm terrified that it is so close to home. oThey are going through hell at the moment. IAEve no doubt in my mind. oItAEs a very difficult thing to watch your child in that amount of pain. oIAEm thinking of them. ItAEs a really difficult road theyAEve got to travel. IAEm hoping that no more cases are going to come out. oThe situation could change so quickly.o The Roman Catholic school has 147 pupils, with 43 in the nursery and reception classes and is run by head teacher Debra Evans. Sonia Riddiford, of Cwmdare, whose son, Liam, nine, was hit by last yearAEs outbreak, said: oTo come twice in one year, it doesnAEt make sense. It must be awful for them.o The National Public Health Service for Wales said more cases were possible, as tests results from the 43 nursery and reception pupils at the school had not all come back. Tests have been going on since last Tuesday, when the first case was diagnosed and the school was closed on Thursday. Pupils were told they could return once they had submitted two negative samples submitted 48 hours apart. It is not yet known when that will happen. Dr Gwen Lowe, from the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS), said: oThe three year old boy in the nursery at St IlltydAEs Roman Catholic primary school in Merthyr Tydfil has been confirmed as having E coli 0157 as have two close adult contacts. oThe total number of cases is now therefore four. oThe cases have been identified following testing of close contacts. We have also tested children in the nursery and reception classes at St IlltydAEs School. oHalf the test results are not yet ready and it remains possible that there will be more cases identified. oWe are continuing to investigate the source.o Parent Julie Lewis, of Greenfield Terrace, Penydarren, has a daughter Ellie, seven, at the school. She praised the schoolAEs efforts in dealing with the situation at this worrying time. She said: oThe school is doing the right thing in testing all the under fives.o Independent Dowlais ward councillor Julian Amos added: oItAEs been very regrettable but I hope that we will be able to control it and that the family concerned will be OK. oAll steps are being taken. Members of the authority have been working this weekend and they are doing their very best.o Labour councillor for the ward, Phillip Williams added: oI hope that we wonAEt have a repeat of what happened six months ago.o The news that the dangerous bug has returned to the South Wales Valleys will cast parents and familiesAE minds back to an outbreak in September, which affected 158 people, including five-year-old Mason Jones, of Deri in Bargoed, who died. Rocky Road, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 3BT Tel: (01685) 722235 ST ILLTYDAES CATHOLIC CHURCH,in Balaclava Road, Dowlais. Easter 2003 led by Fr Michael and Sr Collette.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 15, 2006
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