Upset tummies cost Britain 11 mn working days a year

One in four Britons suffers a stomach upset every year. This equates to more than 11 million lost working days each year, a media report said.

The figure has soared by 43 percent compared to the 1990s, according to a study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The highly infectious vomiting bug, norovirus, together with campylobacter, which is associated with chicken, are the biggest causes of tummy trouble, it said.

Symptoms of the intestinal disease generally amount to relatively mild vomiting or diarrhoea, However, there are fatalities among the elderly and vulnerable.

The study, conducted by experts at the University of Manchester, found that people who have a stomach upset took time off work or school because of their symptoms.

Research published last year found that some 65.2 percent of all chicken sold in supermarkets and by butchers is contaminated with campylobacter.

The figure rises to a staggering 76.1 percent for chicken reared on British farms.

The FSA has launched a major food health programme designed to tackle campylobacter contamination in chickens sold in the high street, the newspaper said.

Lead researcher, Professor Sarah O’Brien said: “It’s easy to dismiss diarrhoea and vomiting as a trivial illness, but this study reinforces just how many people’s lives are affected, and shows the impact it can have on health services and the wider economy.”

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