E.coli: 31 cases confirmed in Wales, 13 hospitalised

Scientists with petri dish
Public Health Wales say there have been a total of 31 cases of E.coli in Wales [Getty Images]

Thirteen people have been hospitalised in Wales after being infected with E. coli in an ongoing outbreak, Public Health Wales has said.

The health agency said a total of 31 cases had been confirmed, of which 42% needed treatment in hospital.

Cases of the bacterial infection were distributed across the country with no geographical clusters, it added.

It comes as the UK Health Security Agency said one person in England had died linked to the current strain of the infection.

The variety in this outbreak, Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC), can cause severe bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever and vomiting.

It is often transmitted via consumption of contaminated food but can also be spread by close contact with an infected person, as well as direct contact with an infected animal or its environment, Public Health Wales said.

"STEC is a nasty infection and can make people seriously unwell – it can be particularly difficult for young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems," said Wendi Shepherd, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales.

She advised anyone who has bloody diarrhoea or severe stomach cramps to seek medical attention.

Anyone affected should also take care to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, and clean surfaces thoroughly to prevent transmission of the infection, she added.