Four hospitalised after E. Coli breakout at East Lancs petting farm

Blackburn Citizen: Children enjoy petting animals at farms across East Lancashire Children enjoy petting animals at farms across East Lancashire

A PROBE has been launched after four children were hospitalised after contracting E. coli during a lamb feeding event at an East Lancashire farm attraction.

Contact with animals at Huntley’s Country Store in Samlesbury has been susp-ended following 11 cases of E.coli 0157 being confirmed by Public Health England.

The organisation and environ- mental health officers from across Lancashire together with officials from the Animal Health and Veterinary laboratories Agency are carrying out the investigation after visits to a lambing event which ran between March 29 and April 24.

One child has been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home while three others remain in hospital.

Public Health England, which made the announcement yesterday, said there was ‘no longer’ any risk to the public.

Huntley’s managing director Harry Wilson said all at the attraction were distraught that the outbreak had happened and wished the children a speedy and full recovery.

The investigation comes two years after a petting farm in Bacup was closed down because of an E. coli risk.

Animal Quackers in Bacup became the first such farm in the UK to be shut on public health grounds. It reopened shortly after with a clean bill of health.

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A spokesman for Public Health England said: “To date we are aware of 11 laboratory confirmed cases of ‘E. coli O157’.

“Four people have been hospitalised with complications arising from the infection - one of whom has now left hospital and is recovering at home.

“All cases had visited a lamb feeding event at Huntley’s Country Store, near Salmesbury over recent weeks.

“There is no longer any risk to the public as all contact between animals and the public at the premises has now ceased.

Dr Ken Lamden, consultant in health protection from the Cumbria and Lancashire’s PHE Centre said: “Investigations are still on-going and all public health measures have been put in place.

“The owners are co-operating fully and we are working closely with them and with colleagues across health and local authorities.

“Symptoms of ‘E. coli O157’ include bloody diarrhoea, which can be serious, or milder forms of the infection which are usually self-limiting and clear within seven days.

“Anyone who visited the lambing event between March 29 and April 24 and who is unwell with diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea or passing less urine than usual should seek medical advice or contact NHS 111.”

Dr Lamden added that people should take care if they were planning to visit a petting farm over the Bank Holiday weekend.

He said: “The best protection against ‘E. coli O157’ and most infections is thorough hand-washing. This is particularly important after contact with animals, after going to the toilet, after handling raw meat products and always before eating.

“This incident is an important reminder for parents to follow strict hand washing with their families when visiting petting farms or handling animals. Although many parents may carry alcohol gels with them, this should be an addition to hand washing with soap and water and not a substitute.

“Ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend, we urge families to enjoy their farm visits safely by ensuring good hand hygiene after touching farm animals or their surroundings.

“Outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness associated with contact with farm animals, peak in the spring and summer as this coincides with schools holidays when visits to petting farms tend to be more popular, although outbreaks can occur at other times.

“We wouldn’t wish to discourage farm visits, but people need to remember that a range of infections can be passed on through contact with animals unless care is taken to avoid them.”

Mr Wilson said: “First and foremost can I say all our thoughts at this moment in time centre around the affected children and we wish them a speedy and full recovery.

“Huntley’s management is distraught that this outbreak took place during our extremely popular ‘Lambing Live’ event.

“Witnessing the birth of baby lambs is a special and rare moment for both children and adults from non farming backgrounds.

“It is therefore unfortunate that this outbreak has happened at such a magical event which ought to leave children with good lifelong memories.”

Comments (5)

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12:30pm Fri 2 May 14

Ex-Darrener says...

It's spelt Samlesbury and Huntley's is right there, not 'near'.
It's spelt Samlesbury and Huntley's is right there, not 'near'. Ex-Darrener
  • Score: -1

1:20pm Fri 2 May 14

burner says...

direct quote from article . . " Huntley’s Country Store in Samlesbury " . . . so what are you on about, Darrener ?
direct quote from article . . " Huntley’s Country Store in Samlesbury " . . . so what are you on about, Darrener ? burner
  • Score: 2

3:10pm Fri 2 May 14

midas says...

Is Samlesbury East Lancs or, like Belthorn, just near Blackburn?
Is Samlesbury East Lancs or, like Belthorn, just near Blackburn? midas
  • Score: 1

3:51pm Fri 2 May 14

thoroughbred says...

Huntleys at Samlesbury is on the Longsight Rd, Mellor, behind British Aerospace, half way between Blackburn and Preston.
It's a fab half day out, we go quite regularly, maybe the restaurant is a little pricey, but the food is excellent and the shops are full of surprises.
I feel sorry for the new owners as this outbreak is not something you get a warning of, but if parents are vigilant and make sure their children are hygiene educated, then this would never have been a problem.
Huntleys at Samlesbury is on the Longsight Rd, Mellor, behind British Aerospace, half way between Blackburn and Preston. It's a fab half day out, we go quite regularly, maybe the restaurant is a little pricey, but the food is excellent and the shops are full of surprises. I feel sorry for the new owners as this outbreak is not something you get a warning of, but if parents are vigilant and make sure their children are hygiene educated, then this would never have been a problem. thoroughbred
  • Score: 5

7:40pm Fri 2 May 14

Fire Fly says...

thoroughbred wrote:
Huntleys at Samlesbury is on the Longsight Rd, Mellor, behind British Aerospace, half way between Blackburn and Preston.
It's a fab half day out, we go quite regularly, maybe the restaurant is a little pricey, but the food is excellent and the shops are full of surprises.
I feel sorry for the new owners as this outbreak is not something you get a warning of, but if parents are vigilant and make sure their children are hygiene educated, then this would never have been a problem.
How the hell can you blame the parents??

If the farm has a petting section open to the public, the responsibility is theirs, not the parents, to make sure those visiting are safe by having clear signage.

I no longer visit this place after not being able to get a straight answer from the butcher about the origins of the meat on sale...says it all really.
[quote][p][bold]thoroughbred[/bold] wrote: Huntleys at Samlesbury is on the Longsight Rd, Mellor, behind British Aerospace, half way between Blackburn and Preston. It's a fab half day out, we go quite regularly, maybe the restaurant is a little pricey, but the food is excellent and the shops are full of surprises. I feel sorry for the new owners as this outbreak is not something you get a warning of, but if parents are vigilant and make sure their children are hygiene educated, then this would never have been a problem.[/p][/quote]How the hell can you blame the parents?? If the farm has a petting section open to the public, the responsibility is theirs, not the parents, to make sure those visiting are safe by having clear signage. I no longer visit this place after not being able to get a straight answer from the butcher about the origins of the meat on sale...says it all really. Fire Fly
  • Score: -6

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