E.coli outbreak at Surrey children’s adventure farm park forces attraction to close after three children fall ill with bacterial infection following visit to the site
- Hobbledown, near Epsom, has been shut since Thursday amid investigations
- Has your child visited the park this month? Email [email protected]
A popular family adventure farm park has been forced to close after an outbreak of E.coli which saw three children fall ill.
Hobbledown, near Epsom in Surrey, has been shut since Thursday (July 27) while investigations take place following the children’s visit to the attraction at the start of the school holidays.
Specialists from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are examining the cases of STEC (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) and are testing at the site, alongside environmental health officers from Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.
HAS YOUR CHILD VISITED THE PARK THIS SUMMER? Get in touch: [email protected]
Hobbledown has contacted everyone who has visited since July 12 to alert them to the symptoms.
It has no set date for reopening at this stage, according to the UKHSA.
Hobbledown, near Epsom in Surrey, has been shut since Thursday (July 27) while investigations take place following the children’s visit to the attraction at the start of the school holidays
Hobbledown has contacted everyone who has visited since July 12 to alert them to the symptoms
The outbreak comes just as the school holidays get into full swing – a peak time for the attraction.
Trish Mannes, regional deputy director for UKHSA South East, said: ‘We are investigating potential sources of these infections and precautionary public health measures are being put in place to help prevent further cases.
‘STEC can cause illness ranging from mild to bloody diarrhoea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain. In a small number of people, it can lead to more serious outcomes.
‘Whilst STEC is very infectious, the most effective way to prevent the spread of the illness is by following good hygiene such as washing hands thoroughly, particularly after using the toilet, handling raw meat, before meals and after contact with animals.’
It added that alcohol gel is not effective in preventing E.coli infections.
In most cases, the symptoms of STEC infection resolve within a few days, but UKHSA said, in rare instances, serious complications can occur, particularly in children, although anyone of any age can be affected by the illness.
It is advising anyone who has, or recently had, symptoms associated with E.coli since attending the farm to contact NHS 111.
In an email to visitors, Hobbledown Epsom owner Nick de Candole said: ‘Please be assured we take all possible precautions to ensure the safety of our guests on site and any interactions with animals.
‘This is an unusual and, thankfully, rare event, and if you have not exhibited any symptoms there is nothing to worry about.’
He added that the site hopes to reopen ‘very soon’.
It is offering to refund tickets for those who have booked to go during during the temporary closure, or to rearrange, plus 50% off their next visit.
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