Parents are being warned to keep children under ten away from a Birmingham park at the centre of an E.coli outbreak.
Health chiefs have urged families to consider keeping small children away from Sutton Park after eight people fell ill – including six youngsters.
One child, who fell “seriously ill” after visiting the park has been discharged from hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
Despite previous warnings, health bosses say youngsters are continuing to play in the park.
The Health Protection Agency, which is investigating the outbreak with the city council, said children aged ten years and younger should not visit Sutton Park until further notice.
Dr Roger Gajraj, a consultant with the Health Protection Unit in Birmingham said: “We cannot ban children from the park but for the time being to minimise the risk of infection we are asking parents to take them to other parks in the local area.
Sutton park is a glorious place and the HPA and Birmingham City Council are working together to make sure that everyone can safely enjoy this wonderful facility in the future.”
Covering an area of 2,400 acres, Sutton Park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and attracts over two million visitors a year.
The outbreak has been linked to animal droppings in the park, and the germ can be serious in younger children.
In can cause kidney failure and can be fatal in the most serious cases, but all children affected by the Sutton Park outbreak have now recovered.
Young children are at particular risk because they are more likely to put their fingers in their mouth and the disease can cause severe illness in children under ten.
Birmingham City Council’s head of parks, Darren Share, said: “We are working closely with the HPA to control this outbreak.
“As the infection can be particularly serious for young children we must reinforce our messages on the potential risks.”
New HPA and Birmingham City Council posters will contain the following advice:
• Children aged 10 years and younger should not visit the park until further notice.
Alternative animal-free sites are available locally.
• Avoid contact with animals and animal faeces
• Do not eat or play in areas where there are animals or animal faeces.
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible after touching fences, contaminated clothes or other surfaces in places where animals have been.
• Wash hands thoroughly immediately before eating or drinking. Please use the hand washing facilities available at the Visitor Centre, Wyndley Leisure Centre and site restaurants.
• Do not eat anything that has fallen on the ground.
• Remove and clean dirty footwear and clean pushchair and bicycle wheels as soon as possible following a visit to the park. Then wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
• If you feel ill contact your GP or ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647
For more information visit www.hpa.org.uk