A REVIEW into the outbreak of a rare E. coli bug in Dorset was carried out, health chiefs have insisted – but the report is not available to the public.

Public Health England (PHE) says the public can only request to see the report detailing exactly what happened when 31 people contracted the O55 strain between July 2014 and November 2015 through a Freedom of Information request.

Families including some whose children have been left with lifelong health complications say they did not know the review existed and have branded it ‘disappointing and disgusting’ they have been kept in the dark. Meanwhile the Daily Echo has lodged an official FOI request on behalf of the affected families and will receive a response in July.

Nurse Jessica Archer, who today suffers head pains and fatigue while her nephew Isaac Mortlock endures severe seizures, must be peg fed every night and will need a kidney transplant as a result of the outbreak, said: “Without the Daily Echo we wouldn’t even know this report even existed. The families affected have so many unanswered questions and have to live with the effects of this outbreak forever but yet again we feel Public Health England are trying to sweep it under the carpet and hope that it will just go away.

“It is disappointing and disgusting this report has not already been made public let alone having to wait. We feel there have been a series of failures and this is the latest.”

The news comes after Jessica last month called for PHE to be held to account, accusing the organisation of ‘a cover up.’

In response, PHE told the Daily Echo it carries out ‘routine outbreak reviews once investigations have ended’, adding it is ‘a learning organisation and reflects on outbreaks to identify lessons learnt and to continually improve our response.’

However the organisation refused to tell the Daily Echo exactly which lessons were learned. It was only following a further request from this newspaper, PHE said a report was compiled.

A spokesman for PHE said: "Outbreak reports are routinely written to provide a record of investigations by the agencies involved. It is not usual practice to share outbreak reports with those affected because of the inclusion of information about individuals. Further information can be provided as a Freedom Of Information request and we are aware that a number of those affected have made use of this process since the outbreak originally took place.”

Families say it is the latest in a string of ‘failures’ by Public Health England.

The Dorset outbreak was only confirmed by PHE in response to enquiries made by the Echo in November 2014 after it hit a children’s nursery in Blandford – months after it affected Jessica and Isaac and another youngster Freddie Osborne.

Families were also not aware the investigation, which failed to find a source, had closed in December last year – or of its findings.