Health officials are urgently trying to trace Brits who may have been infected with botulism after eating at a restaurant in Bordeaux.
One person has died after being infected with the potentially fatal neurotoxin, which came from eating sardines at the Tchin Tchin wine bar.
Botulism is caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves and can be fatal if not treated early. It is typically caused by eating food that has been improperly preserved.
Symptoms include vision and difficulty in swallowing and speaking, but diarrhoea and vomiting can also occur.
The incubation period for the illness is typically 12 to 36 hours but can be up to 7 days. Most botulism cases make a recovery, but the recovery period can take many months.
Dr Gauri Godbole, Consultant Medical Microbiologist at UKHSA, said: “The French authorities have notified us of a further small number of people they have been unable to trace who they believe are from the UK based on their credit card details.
“If you ate at Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux, France, between 4 and 10 September, please contact your local Emergency department urgently and let them know that you have recently visited a restaurant with a botulism outbreak. Botulism does not spread from person to person and there is no risk to the general population.”
Ireland’s Health Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed that a “small number” of Irish nationals dined at the restaurant are being treated. The bar is popular with tourists and is said to have been busy during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup clash against Romania.
The ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a local health authority, said the majority of those receiving treatment at University Hospital Bordeaux for suspected botulism were from the US, Canada and Germany.