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Guidelines for pet farm visitors
[Posted: Mon 29/03/2010 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
With schools now on their Easter break, an increasing number of children and their parents are expected to visit open and pet farms in the coming weeks. However visitors are being urged to follow basic guidelines in order to reduce their risk of picking up infections, such as E.coli.
“Adherence to a number of basic guidelines will make sure that visits to farms are a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, especially children, who get to learn more about rural life and experience contact with animals,” said Dr Paul McKeown of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Members of the public visiting these farms are advised to:
-Observe farm notices.
-Avoid consuming unpasteurised products.
-Avoid tasting animal feedstuffs.
_Cover all cuts or broken skin with waterproof plasters.
_Avoid letting your face come into contact with animals.
_Eat only in designated eating areas.
_Wash and dry hands after contact with animals or animal feed and before eating and drinking.
_Ensure that children’s handwashing is supervised by adults.
_Ensure that children under the age of five are very closely supervised in the presence of any animals.
_Avoid eating anything off the ground.
_Avoid putting fingers in your mouth or in the mouths of animals.
_Avoid touching manure or slurry.
_Only feed animals under supervision from a farm worker.
_Pregnant women should avoid handling sheep or lambs.
_Wash hands and make sure that shoes are free from animal dung when leaving the farm.
“These guidelines are particularly important for vulnerable people such as children, the elderly or immuno-compromised people,” Dr McKeown said.
He referred specifically to the infection, VTEC, of which E.coli 0157 is a strain. This can cause severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, which can last up to 10 days.
“Some people, particularly children under five years of age and the elderly, are at risk of a complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. This happens in up to 10% of child cases. HUS is the principal cause of acute kidney failure in children and the majority of cases of HUS are caused by E.coli 0157,” Dr McKeown explained.
He pointed out that while Ireland has so far had no confirmed cases of this condition connected with open or pet farms, there have already been over 100 cases in the UK. However adherence to these simple guidelines ‘will ensure that such cases are kept to a minimum here’, he insisted.
|Drago Posted: 29/03/2010 09:27|
Thank god there's an organisation out there that has advised us not to touch manure or slurry!
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