Food Safety - Infectious Diseases

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: I have become ill after eating at a local restaurant - what should I do?

Answer: You should consult your G.P. as soon as possible so that your condition can be assessed. People often wrongly assume that the last meal eaten was the cause of their illness. In fact the most common form of food poisoning is caused by bacteria which can take between 2 and 10 days to show symptoms. This can make it very difficult to identify the food at fault unless a number of people have similar symptoms after eating food from the same source. It may also not be bacterial food poisoning, but viral-gastroenteritis which has similar symptoms. There are also many cases of food poisoning which originate in the home.

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Question: Who investigates cases of infectious disease?

Answer: The Area Health Authority has a responsibility to report any cases of specified infectious diseases to the Council. These specified illnesses include conditions as diverse as actual/suspected food poisoning, Typhoid and Paratyphoid fevers, TB, Meningitis, Anthrax and Rabies. Responsibility for investigation is shared between Public Health England, Environmental Health staff and Infection Control Nurses, based at St Mary’s Hospital.

In general terms the council deals mainly with food poisoning type illnesses. You can contact the Environmental Health department by following the link below.
- Related Link

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Question: What can Environmental Health Officers do about a case of food poisoning?

Answer: There are many forms of illness which have symptoms commonly associated with food poisoning. If the type of illness has not been identified the officers may ask the person suffering to consult their G.P. to arrange a test.

Environmental Health officers will ask questions regarding what you have eaten over the last 3 days, to try and determine the source of your illness. Where an individual is suffering from confirmed food poisoning it can be difficult to identify the exact source of the problem as it can be as much as 10 days from eating suspect food before symptoms are experienced.

Officers will investigate any possible common links to food, water or other sources and will take action to reduce the risk to other persons.
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