Infectious diseases

Our officers are on hand to deal with queries regarding communicable diseases. Whether it is an isolated case or a suspected outbreak from an event such as a wedding party meal or buffet, our officers will investigate to try and find out the cause of the outbreak and give advice or take the appropriate action to prevent further cases.

Food handlers

If infected with a communicable disease, certain employees such as food handlers or care workers may need to be excluded from work for a prescribed period, which is usually 48hrs after symptoms have ceased. You should check with your employer and GP before returning.

If you handle food you have a responsibility to ensure that you prepare, cook and serve food in a hygienic way.

When handling food you can pass on germs and to prevent this you must:

  • Always wash your hands
  • Tell the boss if you feel unwell

Always wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and soap:

  • After using the toilet, at home or at work
  • Before starting work, and after breaks
  • After handling raw food
  • After handling rubbish, AND
  • Dry your hands after you have washed them

Always tell your boss if you:

  • Have been sick (vomiting)
  • Have diarrhoea
  • Have infected (red, swollen, pus containing) sores or cuts
  • Feel unwell
  • Have been unwell whilst on holiday
  • Anyone in your household has sickness or diarrhoea


Each disease has it's own unique set of characteristics. Here are a few of the most common infective agents.

Salmonella (PDF 23kb)

Campylobacter (PDF 24kb)

E.Coli 0157 (PDF 24kb)

Food Poisoning (PDF 30kb)

Giardia (PDF 23kb)

Cryptosporidium (PDF 24kb)

Hepatitis-A (PDF 23kb)

Hepatitis-E (PDF 23kb)

Viral Gastroenteritis (PDF 24kb)

Shigella (PDF)

If you have symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea and vomiting, the first step is to contact your GP for an appointment and ask for a faecal sample to be taken.

If you are fairly sure of the source of your illness please contact us immediately as investigations into the possibility of an outbreak will need to commence. An officer will then contact you either by telephone or letter to ask a few questions about what you have eaten and where you have been recently.

Contact us