September 13, 2009

E. coli outbreak leaves 12 kids ailing

Four of the 12 children ailing as a result of an E. coli outbreak in the English county of Surrey are seriously ill, health officials say.

The Health Protection Agency said since children likely came into contact with the bacteria during a recent visit to the Godstone Farm, which has since been closed to the public, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

To date the outbreak, which is thought to have begun on Aug. 8, has resulted in a total of 36 E. coli cases.

Dr. Angela Iversen, Surrey and Sussex Health Protection Unit director, said officials at the Surrey farm were working with authorities to limit the outbreak.

This is a large outbreak of this infection, Iversen told the Telegraph.

The farm owners are co-operating fully and we are working closely with them and with colleagues across health and local authorities to investigate the source, she added.

Iversen said since E. coli can be spread by handling animals, those who come in contact with animals should thoroughly wash their hands to limit the possibility of being exposed to the bacteria.