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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 15:21 GMT
E.coli girl home for Christmas
Rebecca MacRae, left, with her sister Chloe
Rebecca MacRae, left, with her sister Chloe
A toddler who was given a 50/50 chance of surviving after she contracted E.coli O157 is back home in time for Christmas.

Two-year-old Rebecca MacRae was left seriously ill when the bug struck five members of her family earlier this month.

Her parents did not know whether she would pull through, and there were fears that Rebecca could be left with brain damage.

Nicola MacRae
It is going to be a brilliant Christmas

Nicola MacRae
However, her condition has now improved so much that she will be able to spend the festive period at home with her family in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire.

And her mother Nicola told BBC Scotland: "It is going to be a brilliant Christmas."

Rebecca spent almost three weeks in hospital in Aberdeen and Glasgow after being struck by the bug at the start of December.

The infection also affected her brother Kevin, her sisters Louise, four, and 11-month-old Chloe, and their father Ross.

Rebecca's mother Nicola and her other brother Kyle escaped the mini-outbreak.

'Pure nightmare'

Nicola said the ordeal had been the worst experience of her life.

"It was horrible. It was just a pure nightmare.

"We really didn't know whether she was going to make it or not. She didn't look as if she would," she said.

I just feel like Christmas has come early

Ross MacRae
However, Rebecca started to slowly make progress in hospital.

"Once she was transferred to the ward it was like a lift off your shoulders," she added.

Ross said it was "absolutely superb" to have his daughter home in time for the festive period.

"I just feel like Christmas has come early," he said.

"We didn't expect it. We are really happy thatshe can actually spend time with her family at Christmas now."

He said his daughter appeared to be fine, despite all she had been through.

Cause of illness

"She has been off the dialysis machine for almost a week now and she appears to be coping by herself.

"Hopefully she will keep getting better and better."

However, the MacRaes may never know the cause of their illness.

Despite extensive investigations, health officials have been unable to trace the source of the outbreak.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  BBC Scotland's Colin Wight
"The family may never know the cause"
See also:

04 Dec 02 | Scotland
01 Aug 02 | Scotland
27 Sep 01 | Scotland
04 Jul 01 | Scotland
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