Fifth farm closes after E coli cases in visitors

A farm in Yorkshire has closed after three visitors developed the E coli stomach bug.

Big Sheep and Little Cow farm in Bedale, North Yorkshire, is the fifth farm in two weeks to close because of E coli concerns.

The Health Protection Agency said that the move followed confirmation of three cases of E coli O157 which were potentially linked to the farm.

“The HPA has advised that all tours of the farm and contact with the animals or animal areas is closed on a precautionary basis to protect public health while an investigation continues,” an HPA official said.

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The agency is also aware of another five cases of E coli O157 in people who had visited the farm, although there is no confirmation the farm is the source of infection.

There are many potential sources of E coli and the majority of E coli O157 outbreaks are caused either by food contamination or person-to-person spread and only about 1 in 50 of all cases are associated with outbreaks linked to petting farms, the HPA said.

All the cases, including the three confirmed this week, are either well or recovering and all are at home.

Read our Q&A on E coli.

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