Mid Wales

Cantref farm, Brecon: E. coli matches animals' samples

Cantref farm
Image caption The farm is being advised to continue to stop direct contact between animals and the public

Health officials say tests show an outbreak of E.coli 0157 that affected two children matches samples from animals at a Powys petting farm.

The children, one from Ceredigion and one from Kent, visited Cantref Adventure Farm in Brecon in September and are both recovering at home.

Three family members of the infected children have also tested positive.

The farm was advised to continue to stop direct contact between animals and the public.

Public Health Wales, the Health Protection Agency and three local authorities have been investigating since September, and the source of the infection is still being sought.

Of the three family members who tested positive for the infection, one is believed to have contracted the illness at the same time, but does not have symptoms.

The other two became ill at a later date and are believed to have contracted the illness through contact with the child.

Investigators are working with the farm owners to identify any further measures necessary.

E.coli O157 can cause severe diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever, and can cause fatal kidney failure in children.

Dr Mac Walapu, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: "It is difficult to say whether we will see further cases of E.coli O157 linked to the farm, but if anyone who has visited the farm since the beginning of August has symptoms, they should still contact their GP as soon as possible.

"The infection can pass from person to person and so it is important that anyone who is ill should observe strict personal hygiene to avoid spreading the infection.

"We are therefore urging everyone to wash and dry their hands thoroughly after going to the toilet, after handling animals and before preparing or eating food.

"Parents should supervise young children whilst washing their hands.

"Disinfecting all areas of the bathroom regularly, including hard surfaces and toilet and door handles, can also help limit the risk of further infection.

"Anyone who is unwell with E.coli O157 should stay away from school, nursery or work while they have symptoms and until they are advised that they are well enough to return."

Health officials say it is not uncommon for outbreaks of E.coli O157 to be associated with children having contact with farm animals.

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