Infectious Diseases and Food Borne Illness
When people suffer sickness and diarrhoea they often suspect they are suffering from food poisoning. In fact these symptoms can also result from viral infections, which may be present in the air, or some other cause, and may not be food related. Please contact us to report such illnesses or make a complaint about a food premises that you think might be linked to your illness. You should always contact your Doctor for medical advice if you feel you need this.
It is important to inform your Doctor or Environmental Health Officer if you:
Very often, people suffering from suspected food poisoning feel sure that the cause is the last meal they have eaten, especially if this happens to be a meal at a restaurant or takeaway. Often though food poisoning bacteria take quite a long time before they actually make us ill, on average 1-2 days or more after we have eaten them. Sometimes it can take up to 11 days before you show any signs of illness.
The symptoms of food poisoning can vary but generally include some or all the following:
What are the main causes of food poisoning an food borne illnesses?
Reporting food poisoning
Reports of food poisoning reach us in different ways. Sometimes people have seen their GP who then reports the illness to us. Doctors are required by law to report either confirmed or suspected food poisoning to us.
Affected persons may also notify us directly, without first having seen their Doctor. We will respond to all cases by telephoning the affected person and asking for a lot of details about the illness, including the dates and times, what symptoms, what you have eaten, your job and details of people in your household. This information can be vital in preventing further spread of the infection. You may also be asked to provide a stool specimen if you have not already done so.
If there is evidence that your illness is related to a specific restaurant or takeaway within the Chichester district we will want to discuss the matter in detail will you. In most cases it is very difficult to connect an event of illness to a particular business. If a whole group of people, at a party or wedding reception, for example, are all affected by the same symptoms at the same time then it is easier to link illness with the food they have eaten. There are many types of food borne illness caused by different bacteria. The most common include:
Symptoms include stomach cramps and severe diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting and fever. They can begin 2-10 days after eating contaminated food but usually within 2-5 days. Main sources are undercooked chicken and other meats, pets, unpasteurised milk and contaminated water and cross-contamination to other foods. This organism is the most common cause of acute diarrhoea in adults.
Symptoms include stomach pain, fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It usually takes about 12-48 hours for the illness to develop. Symptoms can be much more severe in the young and elderly. Main sources are undercooked chicken and other meats, unpasteurised milk and raw or undercooked eggs. This organism is the 2nd most common form of food poisoning.
Symptoms include severe bloody diarrhoea, and the infection can lead to serious kidney damage in children. Usually takes 3-4 days for illness to develop. Main sources are undercooked beef burgers and minced beef, contaminated cooked meats and unpasteurised milk. This organism has also been linked to farms and farm animals.