”People can be reassured that E.coli is a relatively rare infection. Good hand hygiene for all and supervised hand hygiene for small children is essential to minimise the risk of developing an infection such as E.coli.”
The bug is a species of bacterium found in the intestines of animals and humans. Most types of the bacterium live in the intestine harmlessly, but others can cause a variety of diseases, including cystitis, meningitis and diarrhoea.
There are typically hundreds of cases of patients becoming infected every year in the UK, although it very rarely leads to fatalities.
It has not yet been been revealed how the children contracted E. coli but PHE said it was working with partners to try to "determine a source of infection".
In 2016, two people died following an outbreak in the UK which saw over 150 people infected with E.coli which they picked up from mixed salad leaves.
And in June this year, five people died and 197 were stricken with illness following a deadly outbreak that has reached 35 states in the US, health officials reported.
PHE said its thoughts were with the family at this "extremely difficult time".
A Charnwood Borough Council spokesperson confirmed its environmental health officers had taken out sample kits to the family home.