Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 18:00 UK

Third farm closes in E.coli alert

Whitepost Farm sign
Animals at Whitepost Farm will be tested for E.coli

A Nottinghamshire farm has become the third to close over E.coli fears, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said.

Four people became infected after visiting White Post Farm at Farnsfield, though no direct link has been made.

The farm closed voluntarily and the HPA is investigating but stressed the cases are not linked to other farm closures.

Forty-nine cases of E.coli have been linked to Godstone Farm in Surrey. Horton Park Children's Farm in Epsom also shut amid hygiene concerns.

The HPA said the cases connected to White Post Farm had three different strains of E.coli O157.

Animals tested

In a statement, the agency said: "There are many potential sources of E.coli and as yet there is no confirmation that the farm is the source of infection in these cases, all of whom are well."

None of those infected in the latest alert have needed hospital treatment.

HPA officials said a full epidemiological investigation would be undertaken and animals at the farm would be tested over the weekend.

The farm will remain closed until the outcome is known.

Godstone Farm
Godstone Farm was closed to the public on Saturday

Anthony Moore, spokesman for White Post Farm, said: "We closed voluntarily this morning and would like to stress that it is purely a voluntary and precautionary matter.

"There is no confirmation that the infection has come from here.

"We should know the results of the tests by Monday."

The farm has seven hand washing points and several signs reminding people to wash their hands after touching animals.

The number of cases of E.coli linked to Godstone Farm now stands at 49, according to the HPA.

Of those, nine are children being treated in hospital. One is due to be discharged later and the others are described as "stable".

An HPA spokesman said it was not aware of any cases of the E.coli strain linked to Horton Park Children's Farm.

The parents of the most seriously ill children have been given an apology by the HPA for delays in closing Godstone Farm and an independent investigation has been commissioned.


Two farms in Surrey have also closed

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