E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

Possible E.Coli outbreak at adventure park in Surrey

6th August 2023

It has been reported in the last week by various news outlets that Hobbledown, an adventure park close to Epson Surrey, has voluntarily closed due to a suspected outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in three children.

If this is correct we hope the children affected make a speedy recovery. 

The UK Health Security Agency and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council the local authority are currently investigating. Link below to this story.

From a cursory view of their website, this attraction has sheep and goats which have previously been shown by scientific research can carry the bacterium E.coli O157 which is just one strain of STEC. There are several different strains of STEC and the toxins can lead to serious health issues in some cases.

The UKHSA should be able to identify the strain during their investigation if STEC has caused an outbreak via the patient or sometimes at the source, in this case the attraction.

Moving forward, if an outbreak has occurred, we believe that due to previous outbreaks in such attractions or at open farms, before you purchase a ticket either on line or at the venue you should be given a Health and Safety leaflet such as in the link below or similar containing this information.

Being parents ourselves we know and appreciate the difficulties of getting young children to wash their hands.  This is extremely important if petting animals etc prior to eating as this is how they become infected with such bacterium.

The idea that good dirt builds up children’s immunity is hard to reconcile if they become seriously ill.

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