Study finds lack of understanding on E.coli

Two-thirds of visitors to the countryside have never heard of E.coli O157, new findings have revealed.

In the study by researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and Bangor, two-thirds of rural residents and country visitors who had heard of E.coli O157 said they had acted to reduce their risk of the potentially deadly infection.

However, most described how they reduced risk by cooking meat properly, and very few gave examples of reducing risk around farm animals and in the countryside.

University of Aberdeen School of Geosciences’ Dr Colette Jones said: “In light of last year’s E.coli O157 outbreak on the open farm in Surrey, it is important to recognise that rural visitors are not as well informed as they might be.

“They read the signs about washing hands, but may not take it seriously enough if they are not fully aware of the danger. In this project we are aiming to determine the level of understanding of the infection among farmers, locals and visitors to rural areas, and thereby identify how cases of E.coli O157 could be better prevented.”

The survey also showed that E.coli O157 is viewed by visitors and locals in the countryside as a food poisoning bug and not something that can be picked up from being around farm animals.

Last summer over 94 people were ill with E.coli O157 after visiting an open farm in Surrey.

>>E. coli study needs volunteers

>>Research to reduce E. coli rates in rural region

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