Food poisoning outbreaks

It is important to realise that the cause of your symptoms may not be the last meal you ate.

Officers also investigate outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting in institutions like residential care homes, nursing homes, children’s nurseries and schools. These may be caused because of problems with food but are more often caused by viruses spread by vomiting. An outbreak is where two or more cases with the same infection or symptoms occur around the same time and place.

Institutions like the ones listed above should know their general levels of illness, particularly cases with vomiting and/or diarrhoea, so that if there are raised levels from that normally observed, they know this may indicate an outbreak. If a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same food poisoning-type symptoms, this may be due to a food poisoning outbreak.

Our investigation into the outbreak will involve:

  • interviewing people who are ill
  • interviewing others who ate at the venue but didn't have symptoms taking faecal and food samples (if appropriate)
  • inspecting the implicated venue.

If you believe that you are suffering from food poisoning (i.e. sickness and diarrhoea), or if you require information on how to prevent food poisoning in the home please contact us.