martes, 5 de enero de 2010

E coli O157:H7 outbreak at Godstone Farm in Surrey

Four children are seriously ill in hospital
A major outbreak of E coli at a popular children's farm in Surrey that led to at least 36 people falling sick with the vomiting bug. Godstone Farm was closed yesterday as the 12 children, eight of them in a serious but stable condition, were dealing with complications arising from an infection which can lead to kidney failure, especially in the young.
They have contracted E coli O157:H7, this enterohaemorragic strain which first appeared in Britain in the 1980s and to which children and older people are especially vulnerable. Like other strains, it can be transmitted through contact with animals. The Health Protection Agency said that measures to reduce the risk of the infection spreading were put in place by the farm last week but, as more cases were reported, it had agreed to close "to enable detailed investigations into the source of the infection".
A notice on the farm's website before the closure said "a small number of cases of E coli" in children had been reported in the Surrey area." It said that animal barns and some sandpits were being closed while tests were carried out to determine whether the infection was contracted at the farm. A sister farm in Epsom, Horton Park Children's Farm, has stayed open.
Professor Hugh Pennington, an expert in bacteriology, said this was "a very large outbreak" and that E coli O157: H7 can be "quite dangerous" for young children, with around 15% suffering complications that can affect the brain, the heart and the kidneys. "The kidney complications can be quite severe, resulting in long-term damage in some instances," he said.

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