SPECIALISTS from Public Health England (PHE) have confirmed there have been no further cases of E.coli O157 infection among residents or visitors to the Isle of Wight with symptoms after October 6.

Despite there being no new cases of the gastrointestinal illness, PHE is reminding people that thorough hand washing is the best way to reduce the risk of possible infection — especially before eating or preparing food, or after contact with animals.

PHE has been working with environmental health officers from the Isle of Wight Council following increased reports of E.coli O157 cases among adults and children who either lived or had visited the Island since September.

Investigations have since confirmed the 12 cases were caused by four different strains of the bacteria. Six of the cases were caused by a single strain of E.coli O157 and occurred in school groups who visited the Island on a five-day residential trip.

No environmental or food borne source for the infections have been identified but measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of similar gastrointestinal infections occurring.

E.coli O157, which is a relatively rare infection in the UK, causes diarrhoea and stomach pains and in rare cases can result in hospitalisation.

Dr Anand Fernandes, health protection consultant for PHE South East said: “We haven’t seen any further cases of E.coli O157 infection that can be linked to the Isle of Wight.

“We have worked closely with environmental health officers from the Isle of Wight Council to build an intelligence picture of events which helped ensure we took all appropriate public health steps to help prevent further infection.

“Although we don’t expect any further cases we will maintain our usual vigilance for any such infections."

Colin Rowland, director of neighbourhoods at the Isle of Wight Council, said: "This was a very serious matter for a few individuals, with the potential to become more widespread.

"We are grateful to our colleagues in PHE for their support in dealing with these cases and the action taken quickly and appropriately to stop the further spread of the outbreak.

"We will maintain a vigilant approach, and remind everyone to continue to take the usual sensible hygiene precautions when touching animals or preparing food.”

Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.