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E coli outbreak at petting farm

14th September 2009

The Health Protection Agency has confirmed that twelve children are being treated in hospital after an outbreak of the E coli bug at a petting farm.

Bacteria

Four of the children were said to be "seriously ill" and 36 cases of the bug have been reported overall. The children had all visited Godstone Farm in Surrey, which has since been shut.

The farm can entertain around 2,000 visitors daily and allows children to pet and feed animals on the premises.

The outbreak of the bug is thought to have started at the beginning of August.  E coli can cause diarrhoea and can be dangerous in young children if kidney failure occurs.

Dr Angela Iversen, director of the Surrey and Sussex Health Protection Unit, said: "This is a large outbreak of this infection. The farm owners are co-operating fully and we are working closely with them and with colleagues across health and local authorities to investigate the source."

She added that they advised that the farm should stay shut to the public while the outbreak was investigated.

A spokeswoman for the HPA said: "The children are scattered around at different hospitals in the area. They are at the moment in stable conditions."

 

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