Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic micro-organisms,
such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be
spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another.
Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause
disease when transmitted to humans.
Environmental Health Officers investigate the sources of
certain communicable diseases, in particular food poisoning
that is notified to us by GP's, hospital laboratories, the
public and businesses. On occasions it is necessary to restrict
movement of certain individuals to reduce the risk of the spread of
disease whilst we try to find the possible cause.
Bacteria and viruses are the main cause of food poisoning. The
symptoms they produce include vomiting, diarrhoea, temperature,
cramps and nausea.The time taken from eating food to feeling unwell
varies and in some cases can be up to 10-15 days after consumption.
The last meal you ate may not be the cause of your symptoms.
What do we investigate?
Environmental Health Officers investigate the possible
sources of and reasons for the infection. Once we have received a
food poisoning notification, we will contact the person with the
symptoms and ask them questions regarding what foods they have
consumed and activities prior to their illness.
If there is an outbreak of food poisoning, our investigation will
involve interviewing people who are ill and others who ate at the
venue who don't have any symptoms, taking food and faecal samples
and inspecting the implicated venue.
If there is enough evidence against a food premises within the
areas of the possible source of the outbreak, then we may decide to
carry out a food hygiene inspection.
Food related illness factsheets
The fact sheets to the right cover a wide range of food
illnesses and try to answer some of the questions you may have
about a particular infection, including where it comes from.