Commercial vessels including vessels which are part of Black Sea grain deal wait to pass the Bosphorus strait off the shores of Yenikapi in Istanbul
Turkey is one of the most popular travel destinations among British travellers | Photo: UMIT BEKTAS/ Reuters Reuters

Holidaymakers travelling to Turkey have received yet another warning over the serious outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning in the country.

The outbreak that left more than 200 people ill was first reported earlier this year and it happened among travellers who had gone to Turkey on an "all-inclusive" holiday. Between Jan. 15 and July 19, there were 241 confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infection, with the majority of these with specimen collection dates from April onwards.

Latest health warning for UK travellers

In a new update, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that a source of the infection has still not been found, despite assessing it for months with the authorities in Turkey.

The UKHSA has been performing tests on strains that comprise complicated genome sequencing.

"There are five 5-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) clusters which have been identified as closely genetically related strains of Salmonella Enteritidis using whole genome sequencing, with 3 clusters also related at the 25-SNP level and the remaining 2 at the 10-SNP level, which indicates a likely common source of infection," UKHSA wrote in their latest update.

UKHSA has also stated that it is coordinating with ABTA, Turkish public health authorities and other international public health partners to inform investigations of these clusters. UKHSA is also working with the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) to ensure appropriate advice is in place for UK travellers.

The outbreaks, which were reported earlier this year, were mostly in Turkey's Antalya region. It was detected in the UK travellers coming back from holiday suffering from severe gastrointestinal illnesses. Out of the 241 cases reported earlier this year of Salmonella food poisoning, 56 per cent were male and the median age of cases was 29 years old.

Precautions while travelling

Turkey is one of the popular travel destinations among British travellers. With the school autumn break around the corner, many people will have visiting Turkey in mind.

Since the source of the illness is yet to be identified, with investigations ongoing, UKHSA has reminded everyone of "simple steps they can take to reduce the risk of contracting gastrointestinal infections while travelling abroad including washing hands thoroughly, especially after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food".

The UKHSA has also warned people that salmonella infections can be more serious in young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals (because of illness, underlying conditions and/or medical treatments). One must also know that mild cases can usually be resolved with self-care at home.