A PERSON has died in Scotland following an outbreak of E. coli in the UK, health officials have confirmed.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said at least 30 confirmed cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, (Stec) have been recorded across England and Scotland in patients aged seven to 81.

Stec is a pathogen which can cause food poisoning.

The agency added a person from Scotland had now died from the infection.

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced a precautionary recall of four products from cheesemaker Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese on Christmas Eve because of possible E. coli contamination.

The agency said symptoms of Stec can include severe diarrhoea (including bloody diarrhoea), abdominal pain, and sometimes haemolytic uremic syndrome, (HUS), a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure and can be fatal.

Amy Douglas, incident director for gastrointestinal infections and food safety division at UKHSA, said: “There have been at least 30 confirmed cases of this specific outbreak strain of Stec in the UK. 

“Symptoms of Stec include severe diarrhoea (including bloody diarrhoea), stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. If you have diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing it on to family and friends over the festive period.  

“Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will help stop infections from spreading. Don’t prepare food for others if you have symptoms or for 48 hours after symptoms stop. 

“Many of us will be travelling for Christmas, but if you are unwell you should avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to avoid passing on the infection in these settings. Do not return to work or school once term restarts, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.” 

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This is not the only brand of cheese which has been affected by the outbreak of E. coli. Route des Terroirs has also recalled its Morbier Maison Monts & Terroirs Chalet De Vevy Raw Cows’ Milk Cheese because the pathogen has been found in some batches of this product.

Consumers have been advised not to eat the cheese and ensure it is stored safely, fully wrapped and is not in contact with other foods.

The UKHSA said investigations were continuing into any common links between cases, including links to the recalled cheeses.