Belfast Telegraph

E. coli cases linked to restaurant

The number of confirmed cases of E. coli linked to a north Belfast restaurant has almost doubled in 24 hours and now stands at 90.

There were 49 definite and 181 probable instances detailed by the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Saturday's daily update on the food poisoning crisis that has hit Flicks restaurant in the Cityside Mall complex.

The PHA on Sunday said there were now 90 confirmed cases and 179 probable ones.

A spokeswoman for the PHA said the dramatic increase was not unexpected and was the consequence of test results coming back.

She said the number of probable cases had not dropped accordingly because more new cases were still emerging. The E. coli bacteria can take a number of days before symptoms develop.

The outbreak has been described as the worst ever seen in Northern Ireland.

Management at the restaurant have voluntarily closed the premises and are co-operating with an investigation by the PHA and environmental health officers from Belfast City Council.

"The increase in confirmed cases, which were recorded at 49 yesterday, is not unexpected and is as a result of probable cases becoming confirmed following testing," said the PHA spokeswoman.

"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."

The PHA has said the strain of E.coli found this month was not the same as a strain linked to four cases connected to Flicks in August.

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