THE Public Health Agency have launched an investigation after a number of people took ill following a function at a local golf club.

The ‘MAIL’ has learned that a number of the 160 guests at Friday night’s sportsman’s dinner in Edenmore Golf and Country Club were affected by vomiting and diarrhoea in the days after the function.

The Public Health Agency confirmed that, along with Craigavon Council’s Environmental Health officers, they were investigating a suspected outbreak of a mild gastrointestinal infection after being contacted by Edenmore.

The event had been organised by Waringstown Presbyterian Church to mark the visit of Zimbawean international cricketer and evangelist Henry Olonga.

Those who attended the function and later fell ill included members of local churches who were unable to make Sunday services.

A Lurgan man, who was at the dinner, told the ‘MAIL’: “I was alright on Saturday but when I went to bed the pains started. I was in bed all day Sunday. I was being sick both ways.

“I was up at the doctor’s on Monday morning and he said it’s virtually cleared. It was a rough weekend.”

The man said he was aware of several others who had the same symptoms as himself.

Another reader contacted the ‘MAIL’ to tell a similar story of an illness which befell members of her family and neighbours who attended the function.

She said: “It’s very worrying when so many people, including a lot of elderly people, come down with something like this.”

The Public Health Agency (PHA) said it is working closely with Environmental Health Officers at Craigavon Borough Council to investigate the suspected outbreak of a mild gastrointestinal infection which affected a number of guests attending the function.

Dr Philip Donaghy, Consultant in Health Protection for the PHA, said: “The investigation into the cause of the outbreak is ongoing.

“Council’s Environmental Health officers are in the process of contacting the guests who attended the function.”

In a statement to the ‘MAIL’ Waringstown Presbyterian Church said: “We are concerned to learn that many of those who attended our Sportsman’s Dinner at Edenmore Golf & Country Club, have subsequently fallen ill.

“We hope and pray that those who have been affected enjoy a prompt and full recovery.

“Edenmore is a venue that our church has been delighted to use on many very satisfactory occasions in the past.

“We understand that the owners, together with relevant bodies, are making every effort to realise the source of the illness, and we are working with Edenmore in that process. We trust that there will be a clear outcome to those investigations.”

Edenmore issued the following statement: “At Edenmore we had a function on Friday evening from which a number of people reported being unwell on Sunday. Out of due concern we immediately contacted our Enivironmental Health office on Sunday.

“We have provided extensive information, with the help of the organisers of the event, to our Environmental Health office in an effort to source this infection.

“We have taken the precaution of voluntarily closing our premises for a day in an effort to eradicate any potential virus. At the same time we will routinely deep clean our kitchen and food areas. This is the first time a situation like this has happened at Edenmore in 20 years and we work hard to maintain our five star food hygiene record.”