BBC Home > BBC News > England

Farm E. coli cases increase to 64

20 September 09 16:23 GMT

The number of cases of E. coli in an outbreak linked to a children's petting farm in Surrey has risen to 64.

The Health Protection Agency said seven more people had been affected by the O157 strain of the bacteria connected to Godstone Farm.

There are now nine children in hospital, all of whom are described as stable and improving.

The results of tests carried out at Godstone Farm are expected to be announced on Monday.

Four farms across England have now closed or partially closed in the wake of the outbreak.

Kidney failure

Godstone Farm closed last Saturday and its sister farm, Horton Park Children's Farm in Epsom, is also shut because of "unsatisfactory" hygiene arrangements.

No cases of E. coli O157 have been linked to the Epsom site.

White Post Farm at Farnsfield, near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was also closed after two visitors were confirmed to be suffering from the same strain of E. coli.

The World of Country Life in Exmouth, Devon, closed its petting farm and deer ride on Friday on the advice of the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Three children who visited the farm while on holiday in Devon last month have the E. coli O157 infection.

E. coli - which caused symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting - can be especially dangerous in young children because they cannot tolerate much fluid loss. It can lead to kidney failure.

The HPA has said the outbreak was "possibly the largest in the UK" to be transmitted by animals.

The closure of the farms has prompted an expert in microbiology to urge parents not to allow under-fives to touch animals at petting farms.

The Department of Health said a committee was looking into the possibility of changing future guidance on whether young children should have contact with animals at petting farms.

Currently it does not advise against contact but advocates thorough hand washing.

Are you or is someone you know affected by the issues in this story? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.


Your E-mail address

Town & Country

Phone number (optional):


The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms & Conditions

Share this

Related BBC sites