25 Jun 2013
Farm parks and open farms are being reminded of their responsibilities in protecting people from illnesses after a rise in the number of infections this year.
There were 12 outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis linked to open farms in England between January and May this year, with in the region of 130 people reporting symptoms of diarrhoea and stomach pains. The average number of cases of the parasite is around 80 a year over the last two decades from around 2 million people who visit more than 1,000 open farms.
Cryptosporidium can be caught by contact with anything that has been contaminated with human or animal faeces. Other common infections from open farms are E. coli and Salmonella.
Public Health England recommends that farm attractions follow the Industry Code of Practice on protecting both their staff and their many visitors from infection and to make sure they are doing enough to meet their legal requirements.
Anyone planning to visit a farm attraction should also examine the guidelines and farms should make it clear with signs that visitors must wash their hands after touching animals or anywhere they have been, health experts say.
Copyright Press Association 2013