Salmonella Outbreak in West London

Local takeaway has closed voluntarily

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14 cases of Salmonella have been confirmed in west London, amid an investigation by local health authorities into more than 30 cases of possible food poisoning.

The Health Protection Agency says North West London Health Protection Unit and Hammersmith & Fulham Council are carrying out immediate investigations to identify any possible sources for the illness.

As part of the investigations, Shahi Nan Kebab, a takeaway shop near Adelaide Grove, has voluntarily closed. The HPA says the owners are co-operating fully while investigations take place.

Dr Yimmy Chow, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control from the North West London Health Protection Unit, said: "The risk of Salmonella is small to those who are in good health but young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly have a greater risk of becoming severely ill.

"We are carrying out a full investigation to find the source of the infection and as a precautionary measure we would advise members of the public who bought food items from this takeaway shop and still have them in their fridge not to eat the item and throw it away.

"Salmonella is one of the common causes of food poisoning in the UK and whilst the majority of cases are sporadic, outbreaks do occur."

Advice and information about the incident is being sent to London hospitals, north west London GPs, NHS Direct and pharmacists.

Children and adults should stay away from nursery, school or work for 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped. If you work with vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the young, those in poor health, or if you handle food you will need to inform your employer.

Councillor Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: "We would urge any resident who is concerned that they may have contracted Salmonella to contact their GP or other health services. In the meantime, the council is continuing to work closely with the Health
Protection Agency to establish the cause of the outbreak."

Salmonella is a gastrointestinal illness which is most commonly acquired by eating contaminated food, mainly of animal origin, or by faecal contamination from an infected person or animal.

It can be spread from person to person by poor hygiene, by failing to wash your hands properly after going to the toilet, or after handling contaminated food.

Symptoms of Salmonella include watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days and clear up without treatment, but if you become seriously ill you may need to be treated for dehydration (fluid loss) caused by the illness.

HPA advice on preventing Salmonella:

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water: before preparing and eating food, after handling raw food, after going to the toilet or changing a baby's nappy, after contact with pets and other animals, especially reptiles and amphibians, after working in the garden.

If you are worried about your symptoms please phone your GP for advice or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

September 18, 2009