Cute an­i­mals could be deadly

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Al­low­ing chil­dren to frolic with baby spring an­i­mals can lead to se­ri­ous and po­ten­tially life threat­en­ing dis­eases, Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Health Board is warn­ing.

The DHB urged peo­ple to take ex­tra care around calves, lambs and other new born farm an­i­mals this spring.

Can­ter­bury Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health Dr Alis­tair Humphrey said se­ri­ous dis­eases can be caught from farm an­i­mals, in­clud­ing tetanus, sal­mo­nella and ring­worm.

"Farm an­i­mals may look cute and harm­less but if you don’t wash your hands thor­oughly after touch­ing them you can catch se­ri­ous dis­eases,"

Stom­ach bugs were most preva­lent in Can­ter­bury dur­ing the spring months and can be a busy time on farms with vis­i­tors who do not usu­ally deal with an­i­mals, he said.

A sim­ple way to en­sure chil­dren do not catch a bug was to make sure they washed their hands after play­ing with farm an­i­mals, he said.

‘‘Chil­dren are the peo­ple most at risk as they are the most dif­fi­cult part of the pop­u­la­tion to get to wash their hands when feed­ing farm an­i­mals.

‘‘Chil­dren on farms need to be re­minded to wash their hands reg­u­larly.’’

The is­sue was a se­ri­ous one and prior cases had seen chil­dren end up in in­ten­sive care.

‘‘Last year a young Can­ter­bury girl was be­ing treated at Star­ship Hos­pi­tal after con­tract­ing a strain of E coli while feed­ing a lamb.

‘‘For­tu­nately she is lucky to have made a full re­cov­ery thanks to the in­ten­sive care she re­ceived as early on in her ill­ness her prog­no­sis was bleak,’’ Humphrey said.

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