E. coli alert to children on petting farm visits over Easter
Posted: April 19th, 2011 - 11:57am
A surge in the popularity of lambing events, after the success of television shows such as BBC’s Lambing Live and Countryfile, has prompted health types in Wales to urge parents and farmers to take extra precautions at petting farms and live lambing events to avoid a potential outbreak of disease.
At the events, run on farms across Wales, children can witness lambs being born and even help with “pulling” them during the birthing process.
Infectious diseases such as E .coli O157, cryptosporidiosis, Q fever, listeriosis and toxoplasmosis can be passed from sheep, cows, goats and other livestock to humans through contact with infected feces and other body fluids and tissues.
Infections can also be passed from animal bedding and fencing, causing painful gastroenteritis and, in extreme cases, kidney failure, lung and heart disease, and even death.
Because of this, parents are being urged to keep a close eye on children if they visit farms over the Easter break and to make sure they wash their hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching farm animals.
Dr Robert Smith, clinical scientist for Public Health Wales said,
“Animal petting and lambing events are be- coming increasingly popular and they are a great way to see more of the countryside and experience working life on a farm.
“However, we are encouraging everyone to follow good hygiene advice to limit the transmission and spread of infectious diseases.
“Although the number of people seriously affected by contact with farm animals is low, it is important that everyone, especially parents of younger children and pregnant women, is aware of the potential risks.
“Pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition are also advised not to help lamb or milk ewes.”
A table of petting zoo-related outbreaks is available at: