THE outbreak of sickness at Sunderland City Council could have been caused by the winter vomiting bug, further investigations have found.
After top brass from the council tucked into a buffet together, 18 of them fell ill with diarrhoea and vomiting.
And health chiefs from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and environmental health say they have discovered traces of the norovirus, or winter vomiting bug, on five samples they took from people who were there.
On the HPA’s website it states that the virus can spread through contact with an infected person, through a contaminated surface, or through consuming contaminated food or water.
This still leaves the possibility open that it could have come from the food, which they bought from a company based outside Sunderland.
The council said there were no reports of serious illness or admissions to hospital and all those affected have now returned to work.
The HPA says the norovirus is the most common cause of gastro-enteritis in England and Wales and that there are no long-term effects from contracting it.
But it does say the elderly should take extra care if infected as dehydration can be more common.
The outbreak also took place during national Food Safety Week.