119 confirmed cases of E. coli

Published Tuesday, 23 October 2012
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Health officials investigating an outbreak of E. coli linked to a north Belfast restaurant have confirmed 119 cases.

119 confirmed cases of E. coli
An E.coli outbreak is linked to at Flicks restaurant at Cityside Mall (© Pacemaker)

On Tuesday afternoon, the Public Health Agency revealed that there are also 163 probable cases of food poisoning.

Flicks restaurant in the Cityside Mall at York Street has closed voluntarily and is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health at the agency, said: "We continue to meet daily with colleagues at Belfast City Council to share information and results and are working with the Council and Food Standards Agency to ensure this investigation progresses steadily.

"We are also liaising with the Health Protection Agency regarding typing and other specialist advice."

Dr Harper described the food poisoning probe as "complex, evolving and detailed," before adding that "all aspects of the outbreak are being examined thoroughly."

She continued: "As such, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage on any potential cause of the outbreak, but as with all outbreaks, a full report will be made publicly available when the investigation and analysis is complete.

"It is not always possible to identify a specific source in outbreaks as the mechanism of contamination of food may have been short term and corrected in subsequent cleaning, food hygiene practice, or normal disposal of food."

At this stage the information to date suggests "no wider risk to the public from E coli 0157 as regards this outbreak," Dr Harper said.

"However, it is important that everyone helps to prevent the spread of E. coli and washes their hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food.

"People with vomiting or diarrhoea should remain at home and not prepare food - this is good advice at all times, not just when there is an outbreak."

The PHA is advising anyone who ate at Flicks restaurant since 24 September and has symptoms of diarrhoea - especially bloody diarrhoea - and/or abdominal pain to contact their GP urgently for medical advice.

© UTV News
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