E. coli O157 – Update 14 November 2012

E. coli O157 – Update 14 November 2012

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Environmental Health Officers from Belfast City Council are satisfied that the outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 linked to Flicks restaurant in Cityside Mall, 100-150 York Street, Belfast is now over.

As of 3pm on Wednesday 14 November 2012, there were 138 confirmed cases and 163 probable cases.

However the investigation remains on going, and is a complex, evolving and detailed investigation with all aspects of the outbreak being examined thoroughly. 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.

A small number of cases may still be infectious and the PHA continues to advise members of the public that if they have diarrhoea and/ or vomiting they should not go to work but stay at home and not prepare food until they are 48 hours symptom free. 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.

Further information

For media enquiries, contact PHA Communications on 028 9055 3663

Notes to the editor
  1. Information on E. coli O157:http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/ecoli-O157
  2. For further information, the PHA leaflet Preventing food poisoning at home and in healthcare settings at: http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications/preventing-food-poisoning-home-and-healthcare-settings-0
  3. The PHA and Belfast City Council are also working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on investigating this incident. The FSA is the central authority for food safety and is a food regulator: http://www.food.gov.uk 
  4. Examples of previous major E. coli outbreaks elsewhere in the UK:
  • During August and September 2009 there was an outbreak of E. coli O157 among visitors to Godstone Farm in Surrey, England. 93 people were affected.
  • In September 2005 there was an outbreak of E. coli O157 in Wales, with more than 150 cases, most of whom were children.
  • In 1996, there was an E. coli O157 outbreak linked to a butcher’s in Lanarkshire, Scotland, which resulted in over 300 cases.