E.coli cases confirmed in England and Wales – authorities urging people to wash salad before eating it
Public Health Wales, Food Standards Agency Wales and Environmental Health Officers are supporting Public Health England to investigate an outbreak of E.coli O157.
There has been a recent rise in notifications of E.coli O157, phage type 34 in the UK with 109 cases confirmed this week, 6 of which are in Wales. Currently, the source of the outbreak is not confirmed and remains under investigation. A number of people have reported eating salad leaves, including rocket at home or in commercial premises. At this stage Public Health England are not ruling out other food items as a potential source.
Shared Regulatory Services, Commercial Services Section would like to remind businesses and consumers to wash any salad or raw vegetables thoroughly before eating them unless they have been pre-prepared and are specifically labelled ‘ready to eat’.
Christina Hill Operational Manager for Commercial Servicessaid “E.coli O157 infection can cause a range of symptoms, from mild diarrhoea to bloody diarrhoea with severe abdominal pain. On rare occasions, it can also cause more serious medical conditions and can be caught by eating contaminated food or by direct contact with animals with the bacteria.
“It can also be passed from an infected individual to another person if hand and toilet hygiene is poor. It is therefore important that anyone who is ill should observe strict personal hygiene to avoid spreading the infection. People should wash and dry their hands thoroughly after going to the toilet, especially if they have diarrhoea, after handling animals and before preparing or eating food. Parents should supervise young children whilst washing their hands”.
Cllr Gwyn John Vale of Glamorgan Cabinet member for Regulatory Services said “Anyone who becomes unwell with symptoms of E-coli O157 should contact their GP if concerned and should stay away from school, nursery or work while they have symptoms and until they are advised that they are well enough to return”.
Public Health Wales have issued this statement on the current situation.