EXHAUSTED parents have told of the “horrendous” time they have endured after both of their young children contracted E.coli, with one of them almost dying from the deadly infection.

Steve Payne and his partner Laura, of Bedale Road, Market Weighton, have suffered a nightmare few weeks during which their two-year-old daughter Leah had to be rushed into intensive care at Leeds General Infirmary with kidney failure caused by the deadly bacteria.

The couple’s three-year-old son Joshua also became infected around the same time and had to be taken into hospital, although his case was not as serious.

Steve, 30, who works for local firm Yara, is now wanting anyone in the Market Weighton or Holme-on-Spalding Moor area who may have shown symptoms of E.coli, or has been diagnosed with the virus to see a GP, in the hope of identifing the source of the mysterious infection.

“It was horrendous,” Steve told the Post.

“If anyone has got symptoms then they should go and see their GP. It’s the only way we can get certain things investigated.

“We want people to realise how dangerous E.coli can be and don’t want anyone else to go through it. We nearly lost Leah.”

The youngster, who has now returned home, began showing symptoms of the infection over three weeks ago.

Initially, she started feeling sick and suffered diarrhea which later contained traces of blood.

Her mother Laura took her to Market Weighton Surgery where her doctor admited her to York District Hospital, worried that Leah may have contracted E.coli.

Leah’s health continued to deteriorate and two days later she had to be taken to Leeds General Infirmary with kidney failure.

Within hours of reaching the West Yorkshire hospital she was rushed into intensive care and was left fighting for her life.

Her blood sodium levels, which typically should be between 135-140 milliequivalents/liter (mEq/L), had plummeted 117, which doctors warned was dangerously low.

Meanwhile, the couple’s son Joshua, who was diagnosed with a less serious form of the infection just days after Leah, was in a different room at the same hospital.

After undergoing numerous blood and urine sample checks, Joshua was allowed to leave hospital after a week.

But Leah had to remain in hospital for three weeks with her worried parents kept a vigil.

Alhough she is over the worst and has since returned home ,she will still have to go for blood tests every six weeks as a precaution.

The matter has been reported to Envirnomental Health at East Riding Council who have so far not been able to pinpoint where or what exactly caused the children to become infected.

Steve said his whole family have had checks for the E.coli virus to identify the cause.

He said: “The whole family have had samples taken. There have been about 40 checks. They have gone down every avenue.”

Doctors have ruled out food as a possible source and investigations are still ongoing.

Dr Autilia Newton, Director and Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at North Yorkshire and the Humber Health Protection Unit, said: “We can confirm that we have recently been made aware of two cases of E.coli O157 infection in children from the East Riding. Both children are recovering well at home.

“We are not currently aware of any further possibly linked cases.

“East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the HPA is working with the family concerned and a number of different possible sources of infection have been identified for the initial case. Investigations are being carried out, but at this stage the source has not been identified.”

It comes at a time when E.coli is dominating the national news due to an outbreak of the virus across Europe, causing the deaths of 16 people to date.