Manager of Exmouth attraction waits for E.coli results

THE MANAGER of Exmouth s World of Country Life is waiting to hear the result of tests carried out by health officers amid fears of an E.coli outbreak. Nigel Lee, who runs the visitor attraction in Sandy Bay Holiday Park, agreed to close the site s petting

THE MANAGER of Exmouth's World of Country Life is waiting to hear the result of tests carried out by health officers amid fears of an E.coli outbreak.

Nigel Lee, who runs the visitor attraction in Sandy Bay Holiday Park, agreed to close the site's petting farm and deer ride following advice issued by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) last Friday, September 18.

The precautionary measure was taken after the HPA revealed three children who visited the farm last month had contracted the 0157 strain - a form of E.coli which is dangerous to humans.

It has not been confirmed, however, The World of Country Life is the source for the three cases. The children, who are not from the Exmouth area, are said to be 'recovering well.'


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Staff from the Veterinary Investigation Laboratory started testing animals last Monday.

Results are not expected to be known until at least the end of the week.

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Environmental health officers from East Devon District Council also visited the site to carry out tests.

Nigel said: "In the last 20 years or so, people have known about diseases which can be picked up from animals. That is why we have hand washing facilities.

"It is not a new disease which has arisen this year. It's been out for a long time.

"Even if these three people did pick up the infection here - and it is a big 'if' because it will be hard to prove - we have done very well to prevent others from getting it.

"With all our facilities in place, some people may be thanking us that it's only three individuals.

"Everyone is told in the park, from my staff through to visitors hearing announcements made on the deer train, to wash their hands."

After four sites across the country were closed because of an outbreak of E.coli, The Department of Health announced it could change guidelines on whether children under five should have contact with animals at petting farms.

Tourism industry professionals, though, have criticised the calls, claiming such a move would be detrimental to the tourism economy.

Contrary to a number of national media reports further to a press release issued by the Health Protection Agency, The World of Country Life has not closed and is still open to the public.

It is merely the petting farm and deer train ride which are not open.

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