Blue cheese link to E.coli outbreak affecting 16 people

An outbreak of E.coli could be linked to a brand of blue cheese made from unpasteurised milk, health officials have warned.

Sixteen people, 14 from Scotland and two from England, fell ill between July 2 and 15 with the same strain of the infection, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said.

Two are in a stable condition in hospital and the remaining 14 are being treated at home.

Initial investigations showed a number of those affected had eaten Dunsyre Blue, made by Lanarkshire-based Errington Cheese, before they became unwell with strain O157.

The brand of cheese thought to be linked to the outbreak is Dunsyre Blue. Credit: FSS

The latest outbreak of O157 follows one that started at the end of June which claimed the lives of two people, thought to be linked to mixed salad leaves.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) said the company is carrying out a voluntary recall of batches of the blue cheese that may be affected.

Customers who have bought the product between mid-May and the end of July with the batch codes C22 or D14 should dispose of them.

Symptoms of E.coli O157 include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and occasionally fever.

Dr Syed Ahmed, clinical director at HPS, said: "The majority of cases have consumed Dunsyre Blue while eating out, but members of the public who purchased Dunsyre Blue cheese between May 18 and July 29, and still have the product in their fridges, should return it to the retailer where they purchased the product or dispose of it."