Pregnant women warned over lambing

20 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 of 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 newborn lambs, or with the afterbirth;
  • Avoid handling clothing or boots which may have come into contact with

Pregnant women who experience fever or influenza-like symptoms should seek medical advice 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 the risk assessment required under
Health and Safety Legislation.


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