Birmingham & Black Country

Sutton Park E. coli outbreak: Children under 10 warning

Parents are being warned by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to keep children under the age of 10 away from a West Midlands park associated with a string of E. coli cases.

Eight people have been infected with E.coli O157 in Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield since July, a spokesman said.

The six children and two adults have all made a full recovery.

The HPA said E. coli O157 was often associated with contact with animals or contact with animal faeces.

Dr Roger Gajraj, from the Health Protection Unit in Birmingham, said: "We cannot ban children from the park but for the time being, to minimise the risk of infection, we are asking parents to take them to other parks in the local area."

'Very serious'

He said E. coli O157 could be "very serious" in younger children and could cause kidney failure and be fatal in the most serious cases.

Posters issued by Birmingham City Council in Sutton Park recommend keeping children and pets away from grazing animals and washing hands, particularly before eating or drinking.

They also advise washing shoes and bicycle and pushchair wheels after visiting the park.

Extra hand-washing facilities have been set up in the park.

Birmingham City Council's head of parks, Darren Share, said: "We are working closely with the HPA to control this outbreak.

"As the infection can be particularly serious for young children we must reinforce our messages on the potential risks."

A series of races due to be staged through the park at the weekend by the the Midland Counties Athletic Association have been called off on the advice of the council.

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