E coli outbreak in Scotland

A butchers in Scotland has closed temporaily while an E coli outbreak is investigated. J & H Cairns of Law, Lanarkshire, has closed voluntarily while health officials investigate the outbreak.

So far, three people, including two school children, are reported to ahave been struck down by the illness. In a statement, NHS Lanarkshire said: "We can confirm that there have been three linked cases of E coli 0157 within the village of Law, South Lanarkshire. All of these cases have a link with J & H Cairns, a butcher in the village.

"While there is no conclusive evidence that J & H Cairns is the source of the outbreak, as a precautionary measure, we would advise anyone who has any food - other than raw meat - from J & H Cairns to dispose of it." The nearby village of Wishaw was the centre of a major E coli outbreak in 1996, when 21 people died. There have recently been cases of the same E coli strain in Fife and Aberdeenshire but they are not believed to be connected.

Dr David Cromie, a local consultant in public health medicine, said that everyone involed was co-operating fully with extensive testing. He added: "These are precautionary measures and we will continue to monitor the situation." But Douglas Scott, the chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Scotland commented: "It would be disappointing if it was connected to the butcher's shop because butchers have increased their standards since the Wishaw incident in 1996."

No-one was available for comment from J & H Cairns.

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