Wales health officials are reporting a cryptosporidium outbreak linked to lambs at Coleg Gwent’s farm in Usk, Monmouthshire in south-east Wales.

Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts
Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts/CDC/ DPDx

Three people have tested positive for cryptosporidium and eight others are under investigation after a regular attendance at the farm.

According to Heather Lewis, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, “All the confirmed cases had direct contact with the lambs at the college farm.”

She goes on to say, “As part of our investigations, we are checking on all those whom we believe had contact with these animals and Coleg Gwent is co-operating fully with our investigations.

“Good hand washing after coming into contact with farm animals is of the utmost importance in preventing infection with cryptosporidium.

“There is no reason for anyone to avoid visiting petting farms as long as they ensure that anyone who has touched animals, thoroughly washes their hands with hot water and soap immediately afterwards.”

Cryptosporidiosis, or Crypto, is a microscopic parasite causing a diarrheal illness. Common symptoms include: diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, dehydration (which is often most serious in the very young and the very old), nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after infection and normally last for one to two weeks. Once a person is infected, the parasites live in the intestines and are passed in the stool.

Related: What is Cryptosporidium? How do you prevent getting cryptosporidiosis?