19 January 1999
Pregnant women warned over lambing
By FWi staff
THE government has issued its customary annual reminder that pregnant women should avoid close contact with sheep during the lambing period.
The warning was published yesterday by the Departments of Health and Agriculture and the Health and Safety Executive.
Pregnant women who come into close contact with sheep during lambing may risk their own health and that of their unborn child from infections which can occur in some ewes.
The number human miscarriages resulting from contact with sheep is extremely small, but to avoid the possible risk of infection pregnant women are advised to:
– avoid helping to lamb or milk ewes;
– avoid contact with aborted or new-born lambs or with the afterbirth;
– avoid handling clothing, boots which may have come into contact with sheep.
Pregnant women should seek medical advice if they experience fever or influenza-like symptoms if concerned that they could have acquired infection from a farm environment.
Farmers have a responsibility to minimize the risks to pregnant women, including members of their family, the public and professional staff visiting farms.
Any action should be determined by their risk assessment required under Health and Safety Legislation.