Poor hygiene standards were to blame for the outbreak of deadly E. coli at a Fife nursery, according to a leading NHS official.

It is likely that a single infected person had brought the disease into the Careshare nursery at Lauder College, reports The Scotsman. As the number of confirmed and possible cases rose to 37, health officials say that the problem would have ended earlier if the nursery had ensured there was effective, supervised hand-washing.

The first child to have contracted E. coli has been put on dialysis after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication that can lead to kidney failure.

Two more possible cases of E. coli infection have emerged at a second nursery in Dunfermline, based at Lynburn Primary School.

Four of the nine confirmed cases are at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital, where their condition was yesterday said to be stable.

The Fife nursery was criticised by the Care Commission over its infection control procedures in January this year. Its failure to address highlighted problems could lead to enforcement action backed by the threat of compulsory closure.

An inspection at the Fife nursery had found the layout of the sinks was a potential problem, because water tended to splash on to the area around, rather than going down the sink.