FARM visitors are being reminded to follow simple steps to prevent the spread of infections.

“We’ve got some great open farms in North Yorkshire, and visiting them makes for a fun and educational day out, but the animals people meet can carry a number of infections that are harmful to humans,” said County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing.

“You can easily reduce the risk of infection by washing your hands thoroughly with liquid soap and warm running water and drying them with disposable paper towels immediately after you have touched animals (including bottle feeding lambs), fences, or other surfaces around them.

“Please supervise children closely to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly, too. And do remember – hand gel or wipes are not a substitute for washing hands with warm running water.”

Kathryn Ingold, Consultant in Public Health for North Yorkshire, added: “The bugs that can be picked up include E. coli and Salmonella. These harmful bacteria can get accidentally passed to your mouth. It only takes a small number of the bacteria to cause infection.”