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Last Updated: Sunday September 13 2009 11:16 GMT

Farm defends its E.coli response

E.coli outbreak at children's farm

Managers of a children's farm which is linked to several cases of the vomiting bug E.coli have defended their response to the outbreak.

Twelve children under the age of 10 are in hospital after catching the bug at Godstone Farm in Surrey. Four of them are said to be seriously ill.

E.coli causes vomiting and diarrhoea and, in very rare cases, can be fatal.

The farm is closed while the outbreak's being investigated, but manager Richard Oatway said they'd acted responsibly.

"Our main priority has always been to make sure the farm is safe for everyone who comes here to visit," he said.

Farm manager Richard Oatway's full statement

"All the staff at the farm are very upset about the E.coli outbreak and we hope that all the children make a full and speedy recovery."

Health officials said there had been 36 reported cases of E.coli so far, in what one spokesman described as one of the largest seen in the UK.

Mr Oatway said he didn't know when the farm would reopen, adding: "We will not reopen the farm until we are satisfied that we have got to the root of the problem and have put in place suitable control measures."