PARASITES and germs that could harm children and pregnant women have prompted a warning from Worcestershire County Council.

The council’s public health team is reminding residents to stay well ahead of Open Farm Sunday (June 11).

It claims that a small number of people may become ill because of the germs picked up from touching animals.

The annual event is farm­ing’s annu­al open day giv­ing vis­i­tors the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn more about farm­ing and the coun­try­side.

Many families are expected to head off to one of Worcestershire’s petting farms and zoos.

Many animals carry parasites and germs that can affect young children and pregnant women.

There is an increase in these germs at the times of the year when children are handling animals and feeding lambs at petting farms.  

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Dr Lisa McNally, director of public health for Worcestershire County Council, said: “Getting out into Worcestershire’s lovely countryside and visiting a farm is wonderful, especially with children. We want everyone to have a great time and stay well.

"Every year a small number of people may become ill but this can be avoided by washing our hands really well.

"This means using soap and warm water after contact with animals and especially before consuming food and drinks.

“It’s also important to remember that even if you’ve not been touching the animals, you may have been touching fences or other surfaces in areas with animals or sitting on and touching grass or bales that are contaminated in country parks or farmland, so keep washing your hands thoroughly to avoid illness and enjoy a fun day out.” 

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Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager, said: "Adults should always supervise children to ensure that they wash their hands properly and grow up learning that clean hands are essential before eating!

"Anti-bac hand gel is not a replacement for washing hands, especially not when spending time around animals.

"If a dummy drops on the ground it will need sterilising, and boots, shoes and pushchairs need to be washed down too when leaving a farm.

"Remember these simple things to ensure your farm visit is both enjoyable and safe.”

Worcestershire County Council reminded the public to contact a GP or NHS 111 if anyone is sick or has diarrhoea within two weeks of visiting a farm.

For more details, including which farms are open, visit