Another food poisoning case

By Lindy Laird of the Northern Advocate -

Another case of salmonella food poisoning has been reported a week after a spate of cases linked to a Whangarei food outlet.

Health officials are awaiting test results to see if yesterday's reported case is the salmonella infantis strain or has the same common link - the undisclosed eatery - as nine out of the 11 previously confirmed cases.

Northland District Health Board medical officer Andrew Lindsay said the board had decided not to release the name of the food business that appeared to be the link to the earlier cases.

"At this stage, I don't think there is any point in doing that. If further cases come in and can be linked to it, or we have other concerns, that situation might change," Dr Lindsay said.

"We are being very vigilant and are investigating this case, and any others that come in, as a matter of urgency.

"We acted very fast to follow through with those earlier cases and found that possible link.

"We have yet to find out if this latest one is connected or even if it is the same kind.

"We're keeping a very close eye on this, far more than a watching brief. We are being very proactive."

The suspected premises had been co-operative and thorough inspections by public health officials following that first rash of cases showed good food handling and hygiene practices, Dr Lindsay said.

Those investigations did not reveal the source of the infection and health staff believed it could have been in one product.

The salmonella infantis strain is not one that usually shows up in Northland.

People were most at risk of food-borne illnesses in their own homes, Dr Lindsay said.

They should ensure food was heated, chilled, stored and covered correctly, and hands were regularly and carefully washed.

Farm workers were also at risk because salmonella could be passed on from cattle and other animals.

Salmonella poisoning symptoms include diarrhoea and stomach upsets.

The decision not to name the food outlet concerned has angered some Advocate readers.

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