Suspected food poisoning and infectious diseases

Suspected food poisoning

Food poisoning (external link) is a term used to describe illnesses picked up from eating contaminated food or drinking water. Symptoms of food poisoning may include:

  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever.

The incubation period (time taken from eating the food to feeling unwell) varies with each type of organism and in some cases can be several weeks 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.

The most common cause of upset stomachs in the UK is from a viral infection called Norovirus (external link), also known as the 'winter vomiting bug'.  Onset of symptoms can be sudden and generally illness only lasts for 24 to 48 hours. It is not necessarily associated with eating contaminated food and is easily passed from person to person.

Reporting your concerns

You can report your concerns of suspected food poisoning from a food business located within Wigan borough to us.  The information will be passed to a food officer who will use it to determine if further investigation is required.

Reducing the spread of illness

There are things you can do to reduce the spread of illness including:

  • Wash hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating or preparing food
  • Clean the toilet, including the handle and the seat, with disinfectant after each bout of vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Don’t share towels, flannels, cutlery or utensils with other members of your household whilst ill.
  • Wash all underwear, towels and other potentially affected household linen at least 60°C (140°F) or at 40°C (104°F) with a bleach-based laundry product
  • Don’t return to work until 48 hours after your last bout of vomiting or diarrhoea (this is particularly important for food handlers and any one whose work involves care/close contact with: children under 5yrs; the elderly infirm; or anyone who is already ill or immuno-compromised)
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Infectious diseases

Certain infectious diseases are notifiable by your GP to Public Health England, and may be investigated by officers of the Local Authority. If you are treated for any of the following you may be contacted by Public Health England and/or a local authority officer.

  • Legionnaire’s disease
  • Shigella
  • E Coli
  • Listeria
  • Hepatitis
  • Salmonella.

Investigations by local authority officers may be conducted by way of questionnaire either over the phone or face to face. The purpose of the investigation is to:

  • Try to prevent the spread of illness within the community
  • Try and establish possible causes
  • Provide advice to the patient on how to prevent the spread of disease within the home.

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