Certain infectious diseases are notifiable to the Health Authority and these are investigated by the consultant in communicable disease control (CCDC) or by officers of the Local Authority. We investigate food poisoning and certain other food borne illnesses which are notifiable.
The purpose of this investigation is to try to prevent the spread of illness within the community and to try and establish possible causes. Advice is also given to the patient on how to prevent the spread of disease within the home.
Many different sorts of bacteria (germs) can cause food borne illness. When food is kept warm, these bacteria can grow rapidly and reach dangerous levels within hours. The numbers of cases of food borne illness have increased dramatically over the past few years, particularly during the Summer months. Good food hygiene standards in industry and the home are vital to prevent food borne illness.
The incubation period (time taken from eating the food to feeling unwell) varies with each type of organism and in some cases can be up to 10-15 days after consumption of the food. It is important to realise therefore, that the last meal you ate may not be the cause of your symptoms.
We may request that person to provide a faecal sample.
If a person with symptoms is a food handler or health care/nursery worker who has direct contact or contact through serving food, with highly susceptible patients or persons in whom an intestinal infection would have serious consequences, they cannot return to work until they are symptom-free for 48 hours. They must also inform their employer of their symptoms.
Parents or guardians of children aged under 5 years or children or adults unable to implement good standards of personal hygiene, are advised to keep them away from school or other establishments until they have also been symptom-free for 48 hours.
You can contact us for more guidance or more information can be found by clicking on the following links:
Health Protection Agency - http://www.hpa.org.uk
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - http://www.cdc.gov
Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection Unit - http://www.hpa.org.uk/
Department of Health - http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/index.htm
Food Standards Agency (FSA) - http://www.food.gov.uk
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - http://www.defra.gov.uk
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) - http://www.cieh.org/
LACORS (the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) - http://www.lacors.gov.uk/lacors/home.aspx
Food Link - http://www.foodlink.org.uk