First for 24-hour farm and food business news
"’A sewage farm. In what way is it a farm? Is there a farm shop?’ " Jack Dee


markets
In week ended 2nd August, the deadweight cattle trade edged up modestly read more
Trade has rebounded slightly as numbers have remained tighter read more
First Milk will be reducing the milk price paid to members from 1st September 2014
read more
For the week ended 2nd August, the GB SPP fell below the 160p/kg mark for the first time read more
The GB weekly average price for the week ending 8th August fell by £11.62/t to £143.56/t read more
A bearish sentiment has continued to be felt by the grains market over the past month read more
Latest estimates (July) from the IGC for 2014-15 global soyabean production have been increased by 4m t  read more
United Kingdom Poultry and Poultry Meat Statistics – August 2013 (released 26th Sep) read more

 
Take5


Simple precautions could reduce risk of E coli O157
Published 24 January 2012 - 17:18
Print

Researchers investigating the risk of E coli O157 in the countryside as part of the UK research councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use Programme, say that simple measures and coordinated action from the relevant authorities could play a major role in keeping children and other vulnerable groups safer.

Academics from the universities of Aberdeen, Bangor and Manchester and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have been researching how the bacterium behaves in the rural environment, and the part that farmers, abattoirs and the public could play.

Although some of the most high-profile outbreaks of E. coli O157-related disease have been found to originate in contaminated food, since the mid-nineties the bacterium has also been commonly associated with environmental sources, including farm animal faeces and private water supplies.  This has prompted growing concerns about the risk in rural areas, particularly to young children.  But the researchers found low awareness of the problem among visitors to the countryside, who may be particularly vulnerable to illness.

This is worrying as there may be specific risks associated with, for example, camping in fields where animals have recently been grazing.  E coli bacteria can also persist on stiles and fence posts, where tourists may be placing their hands when out walking and having picnics. 

Some geographical areas seem to have a higher prevalence, perhaps because of varying levels of the bacteria carried by farm animals.  For example, the researchers compared Grampian with North Wales and found that people in the Scottish study area were four times more likely to fall ill. 

People working in agriculture appear to build up some immunity, but children are at higher risk because of their immature immune systems, so it is particularly important for both rural-dwelling and visiting youngsters to take appropriate precautions.

Dr Norval Strachan from Aberdeen University who led the research said: “This project was innovative because we didn’t simply look at how the E coli O157 bacterium behaves in the environment, but also at how human behaviour can influence the risks it poses.

"Thorough hand washing is an effective way for an individual to reduce their own risk after going out into the countryside (particularly where there are animals or their faeces) and before eating.  Both visitors to the countryside and rural dwellers need to be aware of the dangers.

"We recommend that local and national authorities should take more coordinated action to raise awareness, and targeting carers of young children and those responsible for running playgroups and toddler activities could have a particularly beneficial effect."


 


Site design Surface Creative, integration by 360 Solutions
© Grove House Publishing Ltd, a Ten Alps Company, Hendal Oast, Hendal Farm, Groombridge, Kent TN3 9NU
info@tenalps-publishing.com | 01892 861664