An estimated 290 people are now thought to have been sickened in what has become the largest E. coli outbreak to affect Northern Ireland.
Health officials announced Wednesday that 124 cases have been confirmed and a further 166 are suspected to be part of the outbreak linked to Flicks, a sit-down eatery in Belfast. The Belfast Public Health Agency (PHA) confirmed to Food Safety News that these numbers remained the same Thursday.
The restaurant shut down on October 11 after being named as the outbreak source. Since E. coli only incubates for up to ten days, illnesses reported after Oct. 22 will likely have been contracted from other sick people, not the restaurant, notes PHA.
The agency says it is working to determine where in the restaurant the bacteria originated.
“This is a complex, evolving and detailed investigation and all aspects of the outbreak are being examined thoroughly,” said Dr. Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health for PHA, in a statement Wednesday. “As such, it would not be
appropriate to comment at this stage on any potential cause of the outbreak, but as with all outbreaks, a full report will be made publicly available when the investigation and analysis is complete.”
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