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Oxford City Council

PO Box 10, Oxford, OX1 1EN
Tel 01865 249811
Web http://www.oxford.gov.uk/

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Food Poisoning and Infectious diseases

Chicken

We are responsible for investigating cases of food poisoning and other infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis and Legionnaires Disease.

We work closely with the Health Protection Agency to monitor and investigate infectious diseases and to help reduce the number of infectious disease notifications each year. Visit the Health Protection Agency website for more information on their role.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is a general term applied to illnesses picked up from eating contaminated food or drinking water. Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • vomiting,
  • diarrhoea,
  • abdominal cramps,
  • nausea and/or 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 up to 10-15 days 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.

What causes food poisoning?

There are many different organisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause upset stomachs. It is important to note that having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have food poisoning.

Norovirus - The most common cause of upset stomachs in the UK is from a viral infection called Norovirus. This is also known as the 'winter vomiting bug'. It only lasts for 24 to 48 hours and recovery is usually quick. It is not necessarily associated with eating contaminated food, and is easily passed from person to person.

Visit NHS Direct for more information on Norovirus.

What should I do if I think I am suffering from food poisoning?

If  you are suffering from the symptoms of food poisoning, you should:

  • visit your GP (Doctor) as soon as possible and provide a faecal specimen for testing. This will show what organism caused your illness.
  • whilst you have symptoms you must remain at home and observe good standards of personal hygiene. This will help prevent spread to other family members.
  • If you are a food handler, or work with the elderly, young children or ill people, DO NOT return to work until you have medical clearance.

How do I report a case of food poisoning?

Please contact us on 01865 249811 or report it on line using the form below:

Report It iconReport suspected food poisoning online

How we investigate food poisoning

The aim of our investigation is to:

  • try and identify the source of the illness, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire.
  • investigate any commercial premises such as restaurants or cafes if implicated in your illness.
  • prevent the further spread of infection, especially when dealing with young children or people who work with food. This may involve giving advice or excluding people from work.

We are unable to carry out a formal investigation if you have not seen your GP and submitted a faecal specimen for analysis.

Further Information

The Food Standards Agency website will give you more advice on what to do if you are suffering from food poisoning, in addition to further information.

The NHS Choices website gives you further information on food poisoning.

Page last updated 3 July 2013

Commercial Regulation Team

St Aldate's Chambers

109 St Aldate's

Oxford

OX1 1DS

01865 249811


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