Four more reports of an E.coli possibly linked to an outbreak of illness have been reported to health officials within the last 24 hours.
The new cases of the E.coli O157 infection brings the total number of people affected to 12, of which five are in hospital.
If they still have any of these products in their fridge or freezer they should throw them out immediately.Dr Deb Wilson
Four of the people in hospital are children aged between eight to 14 years.
The fifth person in hospital is an adult.
Although a definite source has not yet been identified, many of the affected people are known to have eaten pre-cooked meats or savoury products supplied by Robinson’s butcher and caterer who have shops in Wingate and Billingham.
Many of those affected are known to have eaten food purchased from Robinson’s shops before control measures were introduced on Wendesday.
Health protection experts from Public Health England and environmental health teams from both County Durham and Stockton councils are continuing to investigate all possible sources of the outbreak.
As a precaution local residents in the south of County Durham and North Tees have been advised not to eat any cold pre-cooked meats or savouries bought since June 25 from Robinson’s butchers and caterers in Wingate and Billingham, and to throw out any they may still have in their fridge or freezers.
E.coli O157 is a serious bacterial infection that can cause severe stomach pain, bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure.
Consultant in health protection and chair of the outbreak control team Dr Deb Wilson said: “The source of this outbreak is not yet known.
“However, many of the affected people are known to have eaten cooked meat products bought or supplied by Robinson’s butcher shops in either Wingate or Billingham.
“As a precautionary measure we are advising anyone who has bought cooked meats or savouries from Robinson’s butchers in Wingate or Billingham since 25 June, not to eat them. “If they still have any of these products in their fridge or freezer they should throw them out immediately.
“The owner and staff of Robinson’s butchers and caterers are co-operating fully with the investigation. “They have conducted a deep clean of both premises and discarded all ready to eat food prepared before July 16.”
E.coli O157 infection can cause severe stomach pain, bloody diarrhoea and more rarely kidney failure in children.
“Anyone who has eaten cooked meats bought since June 25 from Robinson’s butchers and feels unwell should contact their GP in the usual way.
No one from the butchers firm wished to comment.