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New food poisoning cases reported in the UK

Health Protection Agency investigating a strain of Salmonella Newport infection

Posted on 08 February 2012

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is currently investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infection which has affected some 30 people across the UK, particularly in the East of England, since the beginning of December 2011. In 2010 11 cases of the same infection were reported to the HPA.

The infection causes similar symptoms to other forms of Salmonella infections, including diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.  The 30 cases in the recent outbreak ranged in age from six months to 85 years. One person has died although they had serious underlying health complications

Dr Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at the HPA said: “Although it’s too soon to say with certainty what the likely cause of infection is, early indications suggest that a number of people became unwell after eating watermelon. This has also been noted in the cases in Scotland and Germany although further investigation is ongoing.

“It’s important to remember the risk of becoming unwell after eating watermelon is very low. These cases only represent a very small proportion of total consumption. It is always advisable to wash fruits and vegetables – including watermelon – before consumption to reduce the risk of possible illness.

“Colleagues from the Food Standards Agency are part of the outbreak control team and they are working with us to identify the source of this outbreak.”

The HPA said it had identified Salmonella Newport from a ready-to-eat sliced watermelon in a local food survey in north-west England in November 2011 and reminded consumers to wash fruit and vegetables before consumption.

Leigh Day and food poisoning claims

Solicitor Michelle Victor has particular experience in food poisoning claims and has successfully pursued legal action against tour operators Thompson Holidays, where over 1,000 holiday makers staying at the 4* Bahia Prince Hotel in the Dominion Republic, suffered food poisoning brought on by salmonella, campylobacter, cryptosporidium, shigella and giardia. Michelle also represented over 120 people in what is believed to be one of the UKs largest outbreaks of food poisoning and pursued legal action against A1 Kebabish.