Infectious intestinal diseases affect 1 in 5 people in the UK each year and symptoms are not confined to diarrhoea and vomiting.
Public Health England (PHE) monitors trends in infection and outbreaks, drawing on data from:
PHE reference laboratories
- the national laboratory reporting scheme
- consultants in communicable disease control (CCDCs)
- environmental health officers (EHOs)
For trends in zoonotic infection in humans and animals, see Zoonoses in the UK.
Update during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
Gastrointestinal infections cause an estimated 17 million cases in the UK each year. Bacterial gastroenteritis is particularly common in summer months and outbreaks of zoonotic infections, such as campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) occur every year.
Although a vast majority of cases of gastroenteritis cause self- limiting diarrhoea, symptoms such as fever and diarrhoea can be mistaken for COVID-19. Certain gastrointestinal infections like STEC can cause serious complications such as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), and Listeria monocytogenes infections can be fatal in severely immunocompromised patients.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UK Government advice to stay at home and social distancing strategies have changed patterns of shopping, cooking and food consumption in the population. It is therefore important to be highly vigilant of complicated cases of gastroenteritis in the coming months.