Report an infectious disease
Your Family doctor is required to notify the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC) of a number of infectious diseases. These include a range of diseases carried in food such as Salmonella, E.Coli and Campylobacter. The Food Team then works with the CCDC to investigate food borne infections, whether it is an isolated case, or a suspected outbreak from an event such as a wedding party buffet. The aim is to establish where the patient may have caught the infection and to ensure that they do not pass the infection on to others.
If it is likely that the infection/food poisoning may have arisen from a food business within Waltham Forest the matter will be investigated and could lead to food being seized and a business being closed down or taken to court. If it is thought that the infection/food poisoning was contracted outside the Waltham Forest area the appropriate local authority will be notified.
What to do if you think you have an infectious disease/food poisoning
- If you have symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea and vomiting, the first step is to consult your doctor. The doctor may ask for a faecal (stool) sample to be submitted for analysis. If a food poisoning organism is found the doctor has a legal duty to inform the CCDC who will then contact you either by letter or telephone to ask a few questions about what you have eaten and where you have been recently
- If you are fairly sure of the source of your illness please contact the Food & Safety Team immediately as investigations will need to commence
- Refrigerate/freeze any foods suspected of having caused illness. They may be needed for further analysis to determine what caused your illness
- As far as possible do not handle or prepare food while you have symptoms
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before handling food and always after going to the toilet
Fact sheets on common infectious diseases and ways to control them:
- Campylobacter fact sheet (39KB PDF file)
- Cryptosporidium fact sheet (35KB PDF file)
- E.coli fact sheet (34KB PDF file)
- Food poisoning fact sheet (19KB PDF file)
- Giardia fact sheet (36KB PDF file)
- Hand washing fact sheet (71KB PDF file)
- Salmonella fact sheet (41KB PDF file)
- Shigella fact sheet (39KB PDF file)
What is a pandemic?
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease, spreading through human populations across a large region, or even worldwide. It results from a new disease strain emerging to which human populations have limited or no immunity.
Swine flu in 2009 was the most recent pandemic to affect the UK and while it caused a number of deaths, the impact was significantly lower than first feared. The impact of a future pandemic remains potentially catastrophic however, it continues to be one of the highest risks to the UK.
Information and advice
- Check the current infectious disease situation with the Health Protection Agency
- Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office if you are planning a trip overseas
- See the swine flu advice pages on Directgov if you want to advice on what to do during a pandemic