“E.coli can be acquired through a number of routes including contaminated food, contact with farm animals and infected water. PHE are working with partners to investigate further to try and determine a source of infection. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. ”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. Show more Two children from the same family have died after contracting a deadly form of E.coli, Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed as officials admitted they have no idea what led to the infection.There are fears of a wider outbreak as inspectors and health officers continued to investigate the course of contamination.The children, whose names ages have not been released, were from the Charnwood area of Leicestershire and were treated in the past two weeks.The siblings died after their kidneys were affected with a complication of E.coli called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The strand typically affects elderly people and young children.Experts at PHE warned that people can become infected with E.coli via a number of ways including contaminated food, contact with farm animals and infected water. Dr Lauren Ahyow, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE East Midlands said: “E. coli is an infection that causes a spectrum of illness ranging from mild through to severe bloody diarrhoea, mostly without fever. “Sometimes the infection can cause a condition called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) which affects the kidneys and can be very serious. Young children and elderly people are more prone to development of complications associated with E. coli.