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Major salmonella investigation underway

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By Rod Addy+

18-Aug-2014
Last updated on 18-Aug-2014 at 12:30 GMT2014-08-18T12:30:05Z

Salmonella Enteriditis is most commonly associated with poultry or eggs
Salmonella Enteriditis is most commonly associated with poultry or eggs

A major food poisoning probe is underway to find the link between clusters of salmonella outbreaks across England and possibly Europe since May.

Public Health England (PHE) is considering a possible single source for 156 outbreaks of food poisoning across Hampshire, London, Cheshire and the West Midlands, because they all involve similar strains of Salmonella enteritidis (14b).

Genetic typing methods have also identified cases involving closely related strains in Austria and France. Salmonella enteritidis causes gastrointestinal illness and is often associated with poultry or eggs, according to PHE.

‘More conclusive evidence shortly’

Dr Paul Cleary, a consultant epidemiologist leading the PHE investigation, said: “We are working with our colleagues across PHE, at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), in local authorities and with other public health organisations in Europe to investigate the cause of this outbreak. We are making good progress and hope to have more conclusive evidence shortly.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and if there is any further public health action necessary then we will ensure that this takes place.”

Some food and environmental samples from catering outlets have tested positive for salmonella with the same genetic profile as seen in the outbreak cases.

Vomiting

Symptoms of Salmonella enteritidis include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever. Symptoms are self-limiting and most people recover without treatment although it is important to remain hydrated.

An FSA spokeswoman said: “The FSA is working with PHE, local authorities, the European Commission and other member states to try to establish the source of this outbreak. We are also asking all UK local authorities to be vigilant with any cases of illness that appear in their areas and report them immediately to us.”

Two oriental takeaways have been linked to 32 out of 55 cases in Hampshire have been linked to a single oriental restaurant and 31 out of 33 cases in Merseyside have been linked to an oriental takeaway.

London

In London, 25 cases have been recorded, although little is so far known of the food histories of those taken sick.

In the West Midlands, 43 cases have been recorded, of which 34 have been connected with the Birmingham Heartlands Hospital outbreak.

In France, 49 people have been affected so far and in Austria, no figures are yet available.

There has been no increase in cases or outbreaks of Salmonella enteritidis 14b in Scotland or Wales.

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

FDF Supply Chain Mapping

It seems to me that industry urgently needs to 'map the supply chain' as recommended by the food and drink federations response to the recent horsemeat crisis.

In addition; Elliot's interim report called for a 'know your supplier' approach and if this were implemented correctly (in conjunction with the FDF five point plan) then we would be able to trace movements of product across the supply chain and not just in a one up one down way.

Without this ability we are constantly probing in the dark, running massive investigations at a cost that is hurting the industry and the taxpayers pocket.

My message to UK government - stop sitting on your hands and publish and implement Elliott's proposals NOW!

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Posted by Jim Flynn
18 August 2014 | 13h042014-08-18T13:04:11Z

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