36 people report sickness and diarrhoea after Ilfracombe Foodservice food fair at Landmark Theatre
ENVIRONMENTAL health officers are investigating 36 reports of a vomiting and diarrhoea bug after a food exhibition in Ilfracombe last week.
Commercial food wholesaler Ilfracombe Foodservice hosted an exhibition at the Landmark Theatre on Tuesday, March 5.
The event included 80 different exhibitors from across the world, including food giants such as Heinz, Nestlé and Unilever.
However, when several people reported feeling unwell after the event, Ilfracombe Foodservice reported the matter to North Devon Council's environmental health team.
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Jeremy Mann, head of environmental health at the council, said it was not clear whether the symptoms originated from the event.
He said: "The council was notified of a potential issue by Ilfracombe Foodservice on Thursday, March 7.
"We are aware of 36 people who have the symptoms of Intestinal Infectious Disease (IID).
"This includes some visitors to the exhibition and some staff from both Ilfracombe Foodservice and the Landmark Theatre.
"However, some members of staff who have symptoms did not work during the event.
"The symptoms of IID include stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.
"We have yet to determine whether these relate to the event, or if the illness has been caused by a community based infection such as norovirus.
"We have started an investigation and we are being assisted by the Health Protection Agency, as some of those who have become ill are from outside the area. We are receiving full cooperation from both Ilfracombe Foodservice and the Landmark Theatre."
Ilfracombe Foodservice director Nigel O'Connor said: "We have subsequently been made aware of an outbreak of norovirus at an establishment in Ilfracombe the weekend before our exhibition.
"We will continue to support North Devon Council's environmental health team in their investigation."