Glen given the all-clear after deadly bug scare

Letham Glen, Leven
Letham Glen, Leven

Despite being the focus of a spate of dog illness, medical experts maintain a popular Leven park is safe for the public.

That was the reassuring message from Dr Margaret Hannah, NHS Fife Deputy Director of Public Health, after dog owners feared Letham Glen was the source of an e.coli outbreak.

Ten dogs which regularly walk the beauty spot have recently fallen ill with sickness and diarrhoea – five of them with the potentially deadly bug.

But Dr Hannah believes that could have been spread by the dogs sniffing each other.

“While dogs are frequent carriers of e.coli, rarely does it cause them symptoms,” she said.

“Public concern can arise because of clusters of illness in dogs, who use the same recreation area, but this happens because dogs can spread infections when they examine each other.”

After being alerted to the problem by local dogwalkers, Fife Council took steps to investigate the allegations.

It was believed the problem could have originated from flooding in the area.

An anxious parent told the Mail last week she was frightened to let her child play in Letham Glen for fear the bug could pass to humans.

However Dr Hannah commented: “Flooding in the Letham Glen area took place more than six weeks ago.

“If there were a substantial risk in the locality, we would have expected to see human cases of e.coli within 14 days.

“No cases of e.coli infection have been reported to the public health department from anyone living in the KY8 area of Fife since August this year.

“On the basis of our investigations, there is no public health threat in the Letham Glen area of Fife at present.

“That said, it is always advisable to maintain careful hand hygiene after visiting places where animals might have been roaming.

“This includes washing hands after removing muddy boots and clothing, and wiping clean wheels of buggies and wheelchairs if they appear to be muddy after a stroll.

“It would be very unfortunate if unsubstantiated claims of e.coli infection in dogs became a reason for people to avoid enjoying an afternoon in the park.”