Infectious diseases and food poisoning

What is an infectious disease?

An infectious disease is a disease that can be carried by people and passed on.  Infectious diseases can be transmitted through the air, through close physical contact and through touch.  Infectious diseases are very hard to identify, prevent and cure as they often have several strains (types) and often have early symptoms not dissimilar to much less harmful viruses.

All occurrences of ‘notifiable diseases’ should be reported to Public Health England (PHE).

If you are worried about an illness please consult your doctor.


Food poisoning outbreaks

Officers investigate outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting in institutions like residential care homes, nursing homes, children’s nurseries and schools. These may be caused because of problems with food but are more often caused by viruses spread by vomiting. An outbreak is where two or more cases with the same infection or symptoms occur around the same time and place.

PHE will notify Environmental Health of any notifiable diseases and we will work with them to identify the cause of the outbreak and control the risks of the outbreak spreading.


Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. This highly infectious disease is transmitted through consumption of food and drink that has been contaminated with excrement or urine infected with the bacterium.

Typhoid Fever is uncommon in the UK and most common in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, South America.  However, in the UK, there are an estimated 500 cases. In most of these instances, the individual developed the infection while visiting family and friends in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

Typhoid infection symptoms include fever, weakness and loss of appetite. Initially, the infection causes constipation which is followed by diarrhoea. Symptoms can be mild lasting up to a week, or they can be severe resulting in a major illness lasting up to two months requiring hospitalisation.

Further details regarding symptoms associated with Typhoid Fever is provided by the NHS. It is recommended that your GP be consulted as soon as possible if you think you have Typhoid Fever.


Vaccinations and travel advice

Vaccinations are available that can provide some protection against Typhoid Fever and is recommended for anyone planning to travel to parts of the world where Typhoid fever is common.

Further details are provided by the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

Advice on how to stay healthy and avoid typhoid when travelling is provided by PHE and available for download in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu.


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