98 confirmed cases of E. coli

Published Monday, 22 October 2012
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Health experts investigating the worst ever E. coli outbreak in Northern Ireland say 98 confirmed cases of food poisoning are now being linked to a north Belfast restaurant.

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

There are also 175 probable cases of the bug, according to the latest Public Health Agency figures.

The agency said the increase in confirmed cases over the past few days is not unexpected and is as a result of probable cases becoming confirmed following testing.

It also said the number of probable cases appears to be levelling off as fewer new reports are coming forward.

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

Four cases of the Type 8 strain of E. coli were linked to the York Street restaurant in August, but tests carried out by officials at the time proved negative.

According to the PHA, there were no cases of E. coli associated with Flicks in the six week period between the end of August and 9 October.

This month's outbreak has been caused by a separate strain - Type 54 - to cases previously investigated.

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health, PHA, said: "The PHA has activated a full public health response to this outbreak and the situation is being managed and monitored very closely.

"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.

"It is vital that everyone follows some simple rules to prevent the spread of E. coli - not just those with symptoms, but everyone should wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food.

She continued: "Raw and cooked food should be kept completely separate, raw meat should be cooked through and vegetables and fruit should be washed thoroughly before eating. People with vomiting or diarrhoea should remain at home and not prepare food - this is good advice even in non-outbreak situations."

Anyone who ate at Flicks restaurant since 24 September and has symptoms of diarrhoea, especially bloody diarrhoea, and/or abdominal pain should contact their GP urgently for medical advice.

The Public Health Agency investigations are continuing and final conclusions will emerge when all cases have been identified and analysed to identify any common links.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
paul in belfast wrote (828 days ago):
Do you ever actually post any comments on this??????
Paul Devlin in Belfast wrote (828 days ago):
We need professor Pennigton over to help move the investigation on
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