COMMUNION celebrations left a nasty aftertaste last weekend when numerous guests became ill in the Murcia Region.
The Department of Public Health is investigating two outbreaks of gastroenteritis among attendees of communion parties, with food safety inspectors saying around 20 people had been affected with symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and fever, but the number is still increasing. “Given the symptomatology and its evolution, the most likely cause is a norovirus” said Blas Marsilla, head of Food Safety of the Ministry of Health. They are now working on determining the origin of the poisonings and if it relates to affected food. For now, the inspectors have been able to confirm around a dozen people were affected, who shared a table at a celebration held in a restaurant in Mula, and the other outbreak occurred in Murcia City.
Noroviruses “can be transmitted by poor hand washing in food handling” said Blas Marsilla. In 2015, the number of people affected increased by 20 per cent in the region compared to the previous year. The increase worried public health officials, who advocate revising the legislation to ensure and enforce stricter rules on health and hygiene around food.