Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 18:07 UK

Parents fear for E.coli children

Twins Todd [left] and Aaron [right] have acute kidney failure

A mother of twin boys with acute kidney failure after an E.coli outbreak at a farm in Surrey has said she fears for their long-term health.

Godstone Farm, near Redhill, was closed on Saturday - although the first E.coli case was reported on 27 August.

Thirty-six visitors, including 12 children, have been taken ill. Three children remain seriously unwell.

Tracy Mock said it was still unclear whether her two-year-old sons would suffer long-term kidney damage.

"I'm just so incredibly angry that they shouldn't be there [in hospital], and I'm extremely worried," said Ms Mock of Paddock Wood, Kent.

'Very weak'

Ms Mock, whose daughter was also taken ill after visiting the farm, said her sons Todd and Aaron were both undergoing dialysis.

Todd has also had a blood transfusion.

Mother Tracy Mock: ''I am extremely angry''

"They are quite sleepy and not with it at all. They're just lying in their cots with tubes coming out of them," she said.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the outbreak began at the farm on 8 August, but it did not receive details of the first case until 27 August.

Experts have described it as one of the UK's largest outbreaks of E.coli.

The farm, which is popular with families and attracts 2,000 visitors a day at peak times, said suitable control measures were in place and it would not reopen until it had got to the root of the problem.

Investigators trying to pinpoint the cause of the outbreak have been conducting tests in and around animal pens in an attempt to identify the source of the bug.

A parent, known only as Marianne, from London, said her daughter suffered from kidney failure two days after visiting the farm on 12 August and ended up in hospital for six days.

Stomach cramps

"My daughter is now home but still very weak. We don't know whether her kidneys will have permanent damage and won't know for a year," she said.

Diana Wade Scriven, of Bromley, south London, said one of her children was admitted to hospital with "terrible stomach cramps" following a visit and tested positive for E.coli.

If parents fail to ensure that their children utilise the ample hand-washing facilities available then these outbreaks are likely to happen
Chris Pratley, parent

Jen Hardiman, of Redhill, Surrey, felt parents were not given enough information about the severity of the E.coli outbreak.

She said: "We visited the farm on Tuesday. We were told at the gate to read a small photocopied poster which said there had been a few cases of E-coli.

"Now it has been closed to the public I am very angry we were not told about the severity. This place should have been closed sooner."

Father-of-two Chris Pratley, of Croydon, south London, praised staff and said warning signs were clearly in place.

"Godstone Farm is a wonderful attraction and I am alarmed by the sensational tone of the current media coverage.

"Farm animals carry E.coli and if parents fail to ensure that their children utilise the ample hand-washing facilities available then these outbreaks are likely to happen," he said.



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