We investigate infectious diseases (such as food poisoning) that are notifiable to the Local authority by GP's, hospital laboratories, the public and businesses, This is to prevent the spread of illness within the community and try to find the possible cause.
Bacteria and viruses are the main cause of food poisoning. The symptoms they produce include vomiting, diarrhoea, temperature, cramps and nausea.
The time taken from eating food to feeling unwell varies, and in some cases can be up to 10-15 days after consumption. The last meal you ate may not be the cause of your symptoms.
If you believe you have food poisoning, take the following steps:
Visit your GP and request for a stool sample to be analysed
Ensure you practice good personal hygiene
Wash your hands before handling food and after visiting the toilet, to reduce the spread of the illness
Disinfect door and toilet handles, taps and the toilet seat after use and disinfect the toilet bowl frequently
Drink plenty of fluids to reduce dehydration
Inform us if you believe your illness is caused by a food premises
The main causes of food poisoning are:
Preparing food too far in advance
Not cooking food properly
Not defrosting food correctly
Storing foods incorrectly (i.e. too warm) so that bacteria can grow quickly
Cross contamination of foods after cooking
Infection from people handling foods due to poor hygiene
What do we investigate?
We investigate the possible sources of and reasons for the infection. Once we have received a food poisoning notification, we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them questions regarding what foods they have consumed and activities prior to their illness.
If there is an outbreak of food poisoning, our investigation will involve interviewing people who are ill, and others who ate at the venue who don't have any symptoms, taking food and faecal samples and inspecting the implicated venue.
If there is enough evidence against a food premises within the areas of the possible source of the outbreak, then we may decide to carry out a food hygiene inspection