All visitor attractions in Wealden where members of the public are allowed contact with animals have been contacted by the district council following the E. Coli outbreak traced back to Godstone Farm, in Surrey.
Back in the Spring Wealden’s Public Protection Team started visiting all such attractions, particularly those with farm animals, to ensure owners and staff were aware of issues with E. Coli and that appropriate facilities and controls were in place.
According to a bulletin to councillors, follow-up letters and visits were also carried out to check that the attractions had adequate hand washing facilities and signs were clearly displayed explaining why hand washing was important.
Officers also made sure that any picnic or eating areas were well separated from the animals and that animals were not permitted into these areas even when the attraction was closed.
All the premises have been contacted again to remind them of their obligations.
The bulletin adds that parents have a vital role to ensure children do wash their hands immediately after handling animals and before eating.
‘Farm animals are a major source of the bacteria and it is impossible to ensure they are all kept free from infection.
'Effective hand washing remains the most important way that infection can be avoided,’ it says.
The bulletin also reports that one child from Crowborough, known to have visited Godstone Farm, had been infected with E. Coli. It says he is now symptom free but still excreting the bacteria. The council is to continue to monitor him, with the Health Protection Agency, to determine when he can return to school.
See also Argus story: Sussex petting farms struggle over E.Coli fears