Infectious diseases investigation
- Category: Environmental health
- Last Updated: 10 October 2016
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.
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 area 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. Please visit the Food Poisoning and Contamination webpage for more detailed information.
If you have any concerns or require further information please contact Health and Environment on 01653 600666.