Preg­nant women warned of farm­yard dan­gers

The Oban Times - - News -

PREG­NANT women should avoid close con­tact with an­i­mals that are giv­ing, or have re­cently given birth, the Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Dr Cather­ine Calder­wood has ad­vised.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, along with other UK health de­part­ments, is­sues an­nual ad­vice to preg­nant women who come into close con­tact with sheep dur­ing lamb­ing or other farm an­i­mals that are giv­ing birth, which may risk their own health and that of their un­born child.

Dr Calder­wood said: ‘Even though the num­ber of preg­nan­cies af­fected by con­tact with in­fected an­i­mals is ex­tremely small, it’s very im­por­tant preg­nant women understand the risks and take ap­pro­pri­ate pre­cau­tions.

‘If preg­nant women ex­pe­ri­ence a fever, or flu-like symp­toms, and think they might have ac­quired an in­fec­tion from a farm-like en­vi­ron­ment, they must seek im­me­di­ate med­i­cal ad­vice.

‘Th­ese risks are not con­fined to the spring and do not only ap­ply to sheep, but also to cat­tle and goats that have re­cently given birth. All can carry sim­i­lar in­fec­tions, uch as chlamy­dia, tox­o­plasma, lis­te­ria and Q fever.’

To avoid the pos­si­ble risk of in­fec­tion, preg­nant women should:

Not help to lamb or milk ewes, or to pro­vide as­sis­tance with a cow that is calv­ing or a nanny goat that is kid­ding.

Avoid con­tact with aborted or new-born lambs, calves or kids or with the af­ter­birth, birthing flu­ids or ma­te­ri­als con­tam­i­nated by such birth prod­ucts.

Avoid han­dling, in­clud­ing wash­ing, cloth­ing, boots or any ma­te­ri­als that may have come into con­tact with an­i­mals that have re­cently given birth, their young or af­ter­births. Po­ten­tially con­tam­i­nated cloth­ing will be safe to han­dle af­ter be­ing washed on a hot cy­cle.

En­sure con­tacts or part­ners who have at­tended lamb­ing ewes or other an­i­mals giv­ing birth take ap­pro­pri­ate health and hy­giene pre­cau­tions, in­clud­ing the wear­ing of per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment and cloth­ing and ad­e­quate wash­ing to re­move any po­ten­tial con­tam­i­na­tion.

Farm­ers and live­stock keep­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to min­imise the risks to preg­nant women, in­clud­ing mem­bers of their fam­ily, the pub­lic and pro­fes­sional staff vis­it­ing farms.

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