Northern Ireland

E. coli outbreak: number of confirmed cases reaches 90

Flicks
Image caption The outbreak has been linked to Flicks restaurant in north Belfast

The number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland's worst ever E.coli outbreak has now reached 90, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has announced.

It is investigating the outbreak which has been linked to Flicks restaurant in Belfast's Cityside shopping complex.

The latest figure means the number of confirmed cases has almost doubled in the past 24 hours, but the PHA said the increase was "not unexpected".

It said it was as a result of probable cases becoming confirmed after testing.

In its latest update on Sunday, the agency said it was also investigating a further 179 probable cases of E.coli infection.

In a statement, the PHA added: "We would not expect to see a major decrease in the number of probable cases at this stage of the investigation as new cases are still coming forward."

It is the second time the PHA has investigated an E.coli outbreak linked to the same restaurant.

In August, four confirmed cases of E. coli 0157 were identified among customers who had eaten in Flicks.

However, on Thursday it was confirmed that the type of E. coli 0157 found in the previous investigation is a different strain to that identified in the latest outbreak.

The PHA said the four cases in August were investigated thoroughly at the time and all tests on the restaurant were negative.

The agency said that over the following six weeks, there were no further cases linked to the restaurant until it was notified of the latest outbreak on 9 October.

It has advised anyone who ate at Flicks restaurant since 24 September and has symptoms of diarrhoea and/or abdominal pain to contact their GP urgently for medical advice.

The restaurant closed voluntarily and is cooperating with the investigation.

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