The Government has issued warnings advising pregnant women to avoid contact with animals that are lambing, calving or kidding to reduce the risk of infection to themselves and their unborn children.

The Government has issued warnings advising pregnant women to avoid contact with animals that are lambing, calving or kidding to reduce the risk of infection to themselves and their unborn children.

Advice had been issued by DEFRA, the Department of Health and the Health and Safety Executive.

Pregnant womanIn a statement, DEFRA said: “Although the number of human pregnancies affected by contact with an infected animal is extremely small, it is important that pregnant women are aware of the potential risks and take appropriate precautions. It is also important to note that these risks are not only confined to the spring (when the majority of lambs are born), nor are the risks only associated with sheep – cows and goats that have recently given birth can also carry similar infections.”

To avoid infection risk, DEFRA advises that pregnant women should not help to lamb ewes or provide assistance with cows that are calving or nanny goats that are kidding. The department also advises women to avoid contact with aborted or newborn lambs, calves or kids, or with afterbirths or birthing fluids and to avoid contact with clothing and other material that may have come into contact with animals that have recently given birth or offspring.

The Department of Health has issued a statement advising pregnant women to seek medical advice if they believe they may have acquired an infection from a farm environment or have a high temperature or influenza-like symptoms.

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