AN OUTBREAK of Salmonella in North West Wales, originally detected in August, could be linked to the consumption of cooked ham supplied to small independent butchers.
A total of 51 people, ranging from seven months to 87 years old, are now part of the outbreak which has affected areas of Conwy and Gwynedd.
One new case in Wales has been identified, meaning there are 21 laboratory confirmed and two probable cases in Wales and 30 laboratory confirmed cases in England.
Nine people have required hospital treatment as a result of the illness, but have since been discharged.
Experts from Public Health Wales have been working with Public Health England, the Food Standards Agency and environmental health officers from several local authorities to find possible links between the cases and trace the source of the outbreak.
Dr Judy Hart, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: “The strain of Salmonella we are investigating is very unusual so it is highly unlikely that the cases in England and Wales are coincidence.
“Testing has been carried out on ham supplied to a number of butchers identified as part of the investigation. No trace of Salmonella has been found, but other hygiene issues were identified that led to one supplier voluntarily withdrawing certain batches of ham.
“A number of lines of enquiry are still being investigated and we continue to monitor the situation.
“Although it is an unpleasant illness, people who become ill with Salmonella generally make a full recovery.”
Salmonella is usually contracted by eating food like red and white meats, raw eggs, milk and other dairy products which contain the bacterium, usually following cross-contamination of cooked food by raw food or by failing to ensure food is properly stored and cooked before it is eaten.
Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.