A two-year old girl infected with E. coli O157:H7 from an unknown source is getting attention in the United Kingdom for a very messy reason.

“The problem of dog mess deposited in the village has been a matter of considerable concern to the parish council for years,” says Tarporley councilor Ernest Boynes.

He says the parish believes the toddler “may have contracted the infection after treading in dog mess somewhere in Tarporley and on arriving home, her parents found she had it on her hands.”

Health officials are not yet ready to sign on to the dog mess as the source theory.  “We are not able to say at this stage where the child picked up this infection,” says Dr. Joanna Cartwright, a consultant for the Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Unit.

The two-year old is recovering at home and her parents and older sibling have also been tested for E. coli O157:H7.  Results of those tests are not known.

The girl, who was experiencing symptoms of E. coli, did test positive for the infection at the local hospital last week.

The UK has seen its share of E. coli O157:H7 this year.  Godstone Farm in Surrey was ground zero for a late summer E. coli outbreak that sickened 93 visitors, mostly children who visited petting zoo attractions.

And last July, four customers of the Llay Fish Bar in Llay were sickened with E. coli.

An independent inquiry into the Godstone Farm outbreak is underway, and the Wrexham County Borough Council is expected to file charges against the Llay Fish Bar.