ONE OF THE country’s top public health doctors has warned that a recent outbreak of salmonella in north Dublin is the largest single outbreak in the country over the past decade.
The HSE’s assistant national director for public health Dr Kevin Kelleher warned people to take extra food safety and hygiene precautions following the outbreak last week, which left at least five people hospitalised.
“We get on average somewhere between 200 to 500 cases of salmonella a year over the past decade,” he said.
“This is largest outbreak we’ve had over a single period of time.”
To date, 50 people – including four children – have fallen ill following a number of separate family parties held over the weekend of the 13 and 14 May. Out of these, 16 people have been confirmed as having salmonella.
The parties all received food from a single catering source – Flanreil Food Services Ltd.
Flanreil operates the kitchen at O’Dwyers Bar & Grill – also known as the Golf Links – on Strand Road in Portmarnock. It also provides outside catering services.
The HSE and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) became aware of the outbreak on Thursday, 18 May. The FSAI served a closure order on Flanreil Food Services Ltd on Friday, 19 May.
Swords woman Sandra Murphy O’Brien died suddenly on Sunday, 21 May a week after attending one of the affected functions (a communion party). It is not confirmed if she died from salmonella.
Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Kelleher warned people to remain extra vigilant when cooking and preparing food, and to contact their doctor if they felt they were suffering from food poisoning.
“It’s very clear this is an issue where it is both caused as a consequence of eating food but it’s also passed on by person to person contact, and that’s why people need to be very scrupulous about their hygiene,” said Kelleher.
He said that diarrhoea was one of the most common and quickest symptoms to appear.
“That comes on quite quickly, so [in the] majority of people it would be known by now,” he said.
He said that people needed to take extra care when cooking chicken and minced beef and the make sure the food was cooked through.
Kelleher said that the HSE and FSAI had only identified one source of the outbreak so far. It is believed poultry was the source of the food poisoning which caused the salmonella on this occasion.
The investigation into the outbreak in ongoing.
Affected people are told to contact their GP if they have any concerns regarding their health.
People who think they may be ill as a result of this outbreak may also contact the HSE’s Environmental Health Service or Department of Public Health in Dublin to assist in the investigation of the outbreak.