6 sick; how do kids get E. coli in a park? From the animals; and handwashing is never enough

Children have been given the all clear to return to a Birmingham, UK, park that was at the center of an E. coli outbreak.

The Health Protection Agency said there have been no new cases of the deadly bug in nearly six weeks at Sutton Park after steps were taken to reduce the risk of infection.

The Birmingham Mail reports parents of children under the age of 10 had been advised to keep them away from beauty spot in July, after two youngsters were rushed to hospital with the O157 strain of the bug. It was linked to the feces of animals that live in the park.

Four other children were also said to have had E.coli.

All six have now recovered.

Dr Roger Gajraj, a consultant with the Health Protection Unit (HPU) in Birmingham said, “the advice to wash hands before eating or drinking remains essential for visitors to the park and indeed for anyone visiting areas where contact with animals or animal feces is possible.”

New signage has been put up at the park, for visitors reminding them to wash their hands to avoid infection and showing them where facilities are available. Additional handwashing points have also been installed and areas such as the playgrounds and car parks have been cleaned.

The cattle that graze Sutton Park have now moved off site for the winter.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time