Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

An outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 associated with a children's paddling pool

D. H. Brewstera1, M. I. Browna2, D. Robertsona3, G. L. Houghtona3, J. Bimsona4 and J. C. M. Sharpa5

a1 Department of Public Health, Borders Health Board, Melrose TD6 9BP

a2 Microbiology Department. Borders General Hospital, Melrose TD6 9BS

a3 Environmental Services Department, Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council, Galashids TD1 3AS

a4 Infection Control Nursing Officer, Borders Health Board, Melrose TD6 9BS

a5 Communicable Diseases (Scotland) Unit, Ruchill Hospital. Glasgow G20 9NB


In May 1992. a small, circumscribed community outbreak of infection due to verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 phage type 49 occurred in a semi-rural area of south-east Scotland. On the basis of stool cultures, six cases were identified, one of whom was asymptomatic. One child developed the haemolytic uraemic syndrome. Although the source of infection of the index case was not established nor could the extent of person-to-person spread be fully determined, the clinical, microbiological and epidemiological evidence available indicated that a children's paddling pool served as the focal point in the transmission of infection causing the outbreak.

(Accepted December 02 1993)