Family's health warning after 11-year-old Banbury girl required hospital treatment following farm visit

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A health warning has been issued after an 11-year-old Banbury girl required hospital care following a visit to a local farm.

Amy Chappell and four members of her family, including 11-year-old Poppy, fell ill after visiting a farm during lambing season earlier this year.

The family had picked up cryptosporidium, a parasitical disease that is commonly spread by people putting their hands near their mouths after coming into contact with the faeces of an infected animal.

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Amy said: “We had such a lovely day at the farm and are regulars there, some of us had touched and fed the lambs but not all of us.

Banbury mother Amy Chappell and her 11-year-old daughter Poppy.Banbury mother Amy Chappell and her 11-year-old daughter Poppy.
Banbury mother Amy Chappell and her 11-year-old daughter Poppy.

"A few days after our visit, my six-year-old daughter Edie was sent home from school and then started being sick and had diarrhoea.

"The following day, I got home from work and felt washed out. I was only sick twice but had diarrhoea for 10 days. My 11-year-old daughter Poppy was next to feel unwell and started complaining of a bad stomach.”

Now the Banbury mother is urging others to take extra precautions regarding hand hygiene as many prepare to visit farms over the bank holiday, half term and on Open Farm Sunday.

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Amy said: “This has had a huge impact on the whole family, we had no idea how serious this bug could be.

"We made sure we washed our hands after touching the animals and before we ate, and Poppy even wore gloves, but must have picked it up after that.”

Poppy spent four days in hospital, and although she is back at school, she hasn't regained full health and remains under the care of her doctor.

Amy said: “It has really affected her psychologically. She was sick so much that she is now really anxious about eating as she thinks it will make her sick and she has problems with her digestive system.”

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Symptoms of the disease include stomach pains, diarrhoea and fever. It typically lasts around two weeks, but it can be more harmful to children, pregnant women or people with lower immune systems.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has advised people who are planning on visiting farms to always wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water after touching animals, fences or animal areas.

People are also advised to only eat in picnic areas or cafes, not touch their mouths while petting animals or visiting a farm and not allow children to put their faces close to animals.

Charlotte Flynn, consultant in health protection with UKHSA South East, said: “Visiting a farm is a really fun day out which is an enjoyable and educational experience for many people, particularly children. However, it carries a small risk of catching infections from animals or the environment.

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“Farm animals can be the source of several bugs that can be passed from animals to humans and cause illness. Sadly, this year we have already seen a significant number of cases linked to farm visits right across the country, including in some instances, children being hospitalised."

“Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after you have had contact with animals and before eating food will reduce the risk of infection. Do not use gels or wipes instead of soap and water - they do not remove bugs in dirt.”

The UKHSA urges anyone who feels unwell within two weeks of visiting a farm to contact their doctor or call NHS 111 as soon as possible.

If anyone, particularly a young child, has bloody diarrhoea, they need to seek immediate emergency medical attention.

For the UKHSA’s full guidance on cryptosporidium, visit

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