Illness Experts Call For Lessons To Be Learned From Sutton Park E.Coli Outbreak

Five Children Among Seven Cases Linked To West Midlands Site


Lawyers in the West Midlands who represent victims of E.coli outbreaks in the UK and abroad have demanded that lessons are learned after seven cases of the O157 strain of the illness were confirmed among visitors to a Sutton Coldfield park.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is working with Birmingham City Council to investigate the cases linked to Sutton Park, which is reported to include five children under eight years old.

In response to the problems, the HPA’s West Midlands East Health Protection Unit have advised that the Council is increasing hand-washing facilities at the park and the City Council and HPA are issuing leaflets and displaying posters to warn visitors of the risks and advise on preventative measures.

It is reported that the HPA has detected the same type of E.coli O157 in the cases and in the faeces of cattle grazing the land. They have recommended that parents may want to take very young children to other parks in the local area until further notice, as the infection is known to cause serious illness in youngsters and in some instances can cause kidney failure.

Cyclists are being urged by the HPA to wash their tyres after visiting, while walkers have also been asked to clean their footwear.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist illness team have represented thousands of people who have suffered serious health problems as a result of outbreaks in the UK and abroad, including victims of the recent major Legionnaires’ outbreaks in Stoke-on-Trent and Edinburgh.

The expert lawyers have also acted for a number of victims who have suffered as a result of contracting E.coli O157 in a variety of locations.

Suki Chhokar, a Partner and expert in illness outbreaks at the firm’s Birmingham office, said: “The developments at Sutton Park are hugely worrying and the immediate priority must be to ensure that no one else suffers as a result of these problems.

“The steps taken by both the HPA and council are a positive step forward and it is vital, once the area is declared safe, that a full investigation is carried out to determine what happened in this outbreak and how lessons can be learned to prevent further problems in the future.

“We have seen on numerous occasions how E.coli – and the O157 strain in particular – can have a huge impact on victims, often leaving them with long-term health problems that impact on them for much of their lives.

“Improvements in hygiene can help to reduce the potential risks of the bacteria and steps have been taken towards this. The key now will be to ensure the public are kept fully informed of developments and how efforts to mitigate risks are proceeding.”