HEALTH authorities are investigating several cases of hepatitis A which may be linked to a bakery.
JB Christie bakery in Airdrie in North Lanarkshire has been closed while the NHS investigate nine confirmed and nine suspected cases of the illness.
The bakery owners have contacted the outlets it supplies in North Lanarkshire as well as one in the nearby town of Cambuslang and one in West Lothian asking them to withdraw their products from sale.
Patients have either been discharged or are in Monklands Hospital in Airdrie.
All are said to be well and responding to treatment.
NHS Lanarkshire’s Department of Public Health along with North Lanarkshire Council Environmental Health and other agencies are investigating the cases and are working with the bakery to investigate.
Dr Josephine Pravinkumar, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in Public Health Medicine, said: “Our initial investigations have indicated that there may be a link between these cases and the bakery.
“While the risk is very low, if anyone does experience a flu-like illness, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, abdominal pains or jaundice, they should contact NHS24 on 111 or their GP in the usual way.
“We would like to thank everyone at the bakery for helping us with the investigation to identify any possible source.
“Once informed of the matter, the bakery owners took the decision to temporarily close their bakery and their two retail outlets in Airdrie and Coatbridge immediately and are fully cooperating with environmental health officers and public health staff.
“All staff at the bakery are being provided with information and support and necessary actions are being taken to prevent any further infection”.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection which leads to inflammation of the liver and can cause mild to severe illness.
The infection will clear with time and there are no long-term effects, health authorities said.
Andrew Chisholm, JB Christie managing director, said: “The health and safety of our customers and staff are of paramount importance.
“As soon as we were notified of this possible link, we immediately took the decision to temporarily cease our operations and fully cooperate with environmental health and public health officials.
“This work is continuing and we hope to be able to resume business as normal as soon as possible.”