49 taken ill in E.coli outbreak


The number of people confirmed as having contracted E.coli in an outbreak linked to a north Belfast restaurant has almost reached 50.

The Public Health Agency today said there were 49 confirmed cases in the food poisoning crisis, with 181 further probable incidences.

The outbreak, which has been linked to Flicks restaurant in the Cityside Mall complex, has been described as the worst ever seen in Northern Ireland.

Since the start of October, 15 people have been treated in hospital with E.coli however the majority have since been discharged.

Management at the restaurant have voluntarily closed the premises and are co-operating with an investigation by the PHA and environmental health officers from Belfast City Council.

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health, PHA, said: “The PHA has activated a full public health response to this outbreak and the situation is being managed and monitored very closely.”

"It is vital that everyone follows some simple rules to prevent the spread of E. coli – not just those with symptoms, but everyone should wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food. Raw and cooked food should be kept completely separate, raw meat should be cooked through and vegetables and fruit should be washed thoroughly before eating."

The PHA has said the strain of E.coli found this month was not the same as a strain linked to four cases connected to Flicks in August.