Don’t kiss animals and avoid poop: child hospitalised by E coli from cowpat in park, 6 others infected

A child has been taken to hospital after cowpats in a park caused an E. coli O157 outbreak.

Seven people, including five children under eight, have been infected with E. coli O157 from the same park in Birmingham in recent weeks.

The Health Protection Agency said the likely cause was cowpats and rabbit droppings.

Sutton Park, in Sutton Coldfield, covers around 2,400 acres and is thought to attract around two million visitors annually.

Cows are free to roam around the park – sharing space with the public.

Designated a National Nature Reserve, the former royal deer park is included in English Heritage’s list of historic parks and gardens, and includes sites of archaeological interest.

HPA’s Dr Roger Gajraj said, “The council is increasing hand-washing facilities at the park and the city council and HPA are issuing leaflets and displaying posters to warn visitors of the risks and advise on preventative measures. …  I would also advise cyclists and walkers to wash their tyres, footwear and their hands after visiting Sutton Park as an extra precaution.

Darren Share, Birmingham City Council’s head of parks said, “… we feel it is appropriate at this stage to warn parents and families of the potential risks. There are signs throughout the park.”