We investigate cases of infectious diseases (particularly food poisoning) to identify their source and to prevent their further spread and provide advice to the public.
We take cases from GPs, the public, businesses and other local authorities once a food poisoning notification is received. We will ask questions regarding:
- What and where you have eaten prior to your illness
- Details of your symptoms
- Whether you have been on holiday abroad
- Whether or not your GP has taken a faecal sample and
- Whether anybody else you ate with also experienced any symptoms. We may request that person to provide a faecal sample.
If you are a food handler or health care/nursery worker, who has direct contact or contact through serving food with patients or people in whom an intestinal infection would have serious consequences, you cannot return to work until you are symptom-free for 48 hours. You must also inform your employer of your symptoms.
If you are a parent or guardian of a child aged five years or under or a child or adult who is unable to implement personal care you are advised to keep them home until they have also been symptom-free for 48 hours.
Food poisoning outbreaks
There may be a food poisoning outbreak if a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same symptoms. We will investigate the outbreak. This will involve:
- Interviewing people who are ill
- Interviewing others who ate at the venue but did not have symptoms
- Taking faecal and food samples (if appropriate) and
- Inspecting the venue
Food safety inspection
If there is enough evidence implicating a food premises within the area as a possible source of the outbreak, we may decide to carry out a food safety inspection.