**HOT OFF THE PRESS**
Avian Influenza H5N8 (Bird Flu). Update: Feb 2017.
From 28th February Defra have updated their guidance following the outbreak of Avian Influenza in several locations across England. They have now identified HIGHER RISK AREAs (areas close to substantial inland or coastal bodies of water), we fall into a HRA. The declaration of a HRA imposes legal obligations on keepers of poultry within these areas, and is in place until the 30th April 2017. This means that our chickens are being “housed” inside away from wild birds, and we won’t have chicks in our petting area for the foreseeable future. Please note: there has been no cases of Avian Influenza on our farm.
Public Health England advise that the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency say that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. It is still safe to visit open farms within these areas.
For more information please visit the Defra website.
Intro: Old Holly Farm is a working farm and farm animals and their faecal matter can carry infectious diseases the most widely known organisms being E.Coli 0157. In order to keep you and your family safe please wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or putting anything in children’s mouths.
What does it all mean?
A Zoonoses is any disease that can be transferred from an animal to human that causes illness. All animals carry a range of micro-organisms, some of which can be transmitted to humans, where they may cause ill health – zoonoses. Some present a serious hazard and potentially cause severe disease, including Ecoli 0157.
What is E coli 0157?
E coli 0157 is an infectious illness which can be food or water borne. It is recognised initially by the symptoms. These can range from mild diarrhoea to severe bloody diarrhoea with abdominal pain. These symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks. In some extreme cases serious problems can occur including kidney failure. There are no tests on live animals to prove it is free from Ecoli 0157, and it does not make the animal ill. It should be assumed that all ruminants (sheep, cows, goats and deer) carry Ecoli 0157.
How are zoonoses transferred from animals to humans?
It is caused by bacteria entering the body through the mouth usually from unwashed hands and infected food or drink. Only very low numbers of the bacteria need to be consumed to cause illness.
Possible routes of the infection are:
- eating undercooked meat, particularly minced meat, often in the form of burgers.
- drinking raw (green top) milk or treated milk that has become contaminated after it has been pasteurised.
- contact with streams, ponds and similar watercourses.
- drinking unchlorinated water
- infection from pets and farm animals.
What about when I visit the farm?
Please download our advice leaflet with handy tips to keep you safe, this leaflet is also available to pick up from our Farm Shop. Please remember that good personal hygiene should keep you safe when visiting the animal areas.
We take great care in ensuring our facilities are kept clean and safe for everyone who visits our farm. However there will always be a risk through the very nature of our business and allowing people to interact with our animals. Therefore we ask for your support when visiting our farm in keeping yourself safe by following our advice and making use of the washing facilities available.
Are the hand gels enough?
No, you must use the running water facilities which are located around our farm.
If I catch E coli 0157 or another Zoonoses, will I need treatment?
There is no specific treatment for this particular illness and the most appropriate medication will depend upon the symptoms being suffered. Your doctor will be able to advise you what is most appropriate in your case. It is however, important to drink plenty of water to reduce the risk of dehydration.
For more information, please follow the links which we think you will find useful:
- Nhs direct E coli facts>>
- HPA Hand washing technique (child friendly)>>
- Nhs Hand washing technique>>
- Nhs cleanyourhands Campaign>>
HSE Industry Code of Practice:
- Industry Code of Practice on Preventing or Controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attraction (Summary Sheet)
- Industry code of Practice – Advice to Teachers and others who organise visits for Children
- Industry code of practice on preventing or controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attraction (full edition – 65 pages)
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.