General advice on food poisoning
Gastroenteritis is the common term used when suffering from diarrhoea, stomach cramps and/or vomiting. It can be caused by viruses or food poisoning bacteria and/or their toxins. Food poisoning caused by common pathogenic food poisoning bacteria can only be confirmed by providing a faecal sample.
Food poisoning bacteria have different incubation times (the time from eating the food to becoming ill) and are often associated with certain food types. It's important to realise therefore, that the last meal you ate may not be the cause of your symptoms. When investigating cases of suspected food poisoning the investigating officer will ask for details of symptoms, times and dates of foods eaten and other possible links. If you haven’t provided a faecal sample you'll be asked to do so via your GP to assist the investigation.
The department receives all notifications of positive faecal samples for food poisoning bacteria directly from the laboratory. An investigation may be undertaken to prevent the spread of disease and identify the source. The depth of the investigation is dictated by the type of organism and number of individuals affected. The purpose of this investigation is to try to prevent the spread of illness within the community, and to try to establish possible causes. Take a look at the top ten tips on this page for the prevention of either getting the illness or spreading it within the home. For further advice visit NHS Choices or Health Protection Information from Gov.UK