E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

Investigation into Godstone Farm Outbreak

1st February 2010

George Griffin, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Medicine at St Georges University of London and Chair of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens, is leading the investigation into the outbreak of E.coli O157 at Godstone Farm. There were 94 identified cases linked to the popular open farm in Surrey.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) was called to Godstone Farm on 8th August 2009 and immediately suspected children were getting sick from visiting its pet zoo attractions. Approximately 2,000 visitors were going through the farms attractions each day, yet the HPA did not shut it down until the 12th September. Parents of children who became sick in the later stages of the outbreak are highly critical of the HPAs slow action in closing the farm.

The HPA has agreed the Terms of Reference for the investigation and Chief Executive, Justine McCracken said: Our aim in setting up this investigation is to make recommendations to reduce the risk of contracting E.coli O157 in those who visit open farms and improve the health protection response to future outbreaks of this organism.

The independent external investigation will look at the factors that contributed to the outbreak and its subsequent handling. It will look into the factors which contributed to the cause of the outbreak and into its subsequent handling by the HPA and others.

A representative from HUSH ( has met with the investigating committee, to explain about the charity and its work.

The final report of the investigation will be made openly available to the public. However, pending the final report, any interim recommendations requiring urgent action to protect public health will be published as soon as possible.

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