Families visiting farms and petting zoos this summer are being urged to protect themselves following a rise in infections.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a warning about gastrointestinal infections such as salmonella, cryptosporidium and e.coli.

They can all be passed from farm animals to humans, causing illness.

There have already been 92 cases of cryptosporidium in the east of England so far this year, 14 more than in all of 2022.

So the UKHSA is urging anyone visiting a farm to remember the importance of thoroughly and frequently washing hands to avoid getting the bugs, which can make you seriously ill.

Once infected, you can also pass the bugs on to other people who can also become unwell.

Sarah Weir, consultant in health protection at UKHSA, said: "It’s important to remember that farm animals can be the source of several bugs that can be passed from animals to humans and cause illness.

"Some can be particularly serious for children or pregnant women.

"Do not use gels or wipes - washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after you have had contact with animals and before eating any food will reduce the risk of infection."