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Food poisoning and infectious diseases

Food poisoning

Food poisoning is caused mainly by bacteria, viruses or chemicals in food and the symptoms include nausea, vomiting diarrhoea or abdominal pain. These symptoms can occur immediately after eating contaminated food but more commonly occur from a few hours to a few days later.

If you believe you are suffering from food poisoning caused by eating food bought in Leeds e.g. at a restaurant, take away or shop please contact the food and health team on 0113 247 6286 during office hours or by e-mailing the health surveillance team. We suggest submitting a faecal specimen via your doctor or through the food and health team. We can send you a sample container and laboratory form which you can take to your doctor's surgery. If you live outside the Leeds area and you wish to send a specimen you can contact your local environmental health team or arrange a specimen via your general practitioner.

If you are worried about your illness please consult your doctor.

Information about the food establishment will be passed onto the food safety team. The team carry out food hygiene inspections, investigate food complaints and outbreaks of suspected food poisoning and are responsible for monitoring food hygiene and safety in food businesses in Leeds.

Infectious diseases

In order to try and control outbreaks of infectious diseases, the Public Health Act 1984 requires all occurrences of certain diseases be reported to the local authority. These are known as 'notifiable diseases'.

Our environmental health service receives information on cases and suspected outbreaks of notifiable diseases from doctors, laboratories and the public. We investigate the reports and arrange any necessary action to stop the disease from spreading.

Currently notifiable diseases regulations 2010 include:

  • Acute encephalitis
  • Acute meningitis
  • Acute poliomyelitis
  • Acute infectious hepatitis
  • Anthrax
  • Botulism
  • Brucellosis
  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Enteric fever (typhoid or paratyphoid fever)
  • Food poisoning
  • Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
  • Infectious bloody diarrhoea
  • Invasive group A streptococcal disease and scarlet fever
  • Legionnaires Disease
  • Leprosy
  • Malaria
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal septicaemia
  • Mumps
  • Plague
  • Rabies
  • Rubella
  • Sars
  • Smallpox
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhus
  • Viral haemorrhagic fever
  • Whooping cough
  • Yellow fever

We work with the Health Protection Agency to stop spread of diseases in the city.  In particular we investigate individual cases and outbreaks of gastro enteritis.  We do this in partnership with NHS nurses from Community Health Care who also provide guidance for control of outbreaks in nursing and residential homes, day centres children’s settings and education establishments. Guidance on managing outbreaks in different types of establishments is available to download from this page.

Further information can also be obtained from the Health Protection Agency website.