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UK: Settlements Reached in 2009 Godstone Farm E. Coli Outbreak

Ten children with emotional and physical scars that will likely be with them for life are among those who have reached settlements following the 2009 E. coli outbreak at England’s Godstone Farm.

“These children have all had painful and frightening experiences,” said London’s High Court Judge Colin Mackay. “I cannot think of anything more ghastly than for such young children to go through these procedures.”

Godstone Farm, a petting zoo, was the source of the 2009 outbreak that sickened more than 90 children, including eight that required dialysis because the E. coli bacteria were destroying their red blood cells.

Lawyers for the children, Field Fisher Waterhouse, said they have settled 35 cases from the 2009 E coli outbreak for more than £1 million.

In a written statement, the parents said: “In the autumn of 2009, very young children and their families endured for many what was the most frightening and darkest period of their lives following the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak at Godstone Farm.”

The parents said many of their children who were victims of the petting zoo outbreak went on to develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome and acute renal failure.

“The weeks that followed were a living nightmare for all,” they said. “The children were critically ill, frightened and extremely upset by the medical treatment required.”

Damage to both kidneys, high blood pressure and related health issues linger for the victims, according to the parents. Children who survive an E. coli infection often require a transplant of one or both kidneys as a teenager.

Parents remain angry about the time Godstone Farm remained open in August 2009 after the E. coli problem first surfaced.

The settlement announcements was also marked by a statement from Godstone Farm, stating it was a “horrible incident” and expressing sorrow for “the pain and suffering” the children endured.

Ironically, report of the settlements comes as the United Kingdom is experiencing another petting zoo outbreak at East Lancashire. This E. coli O157:H7 outbreak has reportedly struck 12 children and two adults.

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