Health alert:
Date Issued:
13 Feb 2014
Issued by:
Dr Rosemary Lester, Chief Health Officer, Victoria
Issued to:
Health professionals.

Key messages

  • The Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis in individuals who attended the Bottle of Milk restaurant in Torquay, which has closed and is cooperating with the investigation.
  • Patrons have reported illness consistent with bacterial gastroenteritis and one case has been confirmed to have Salmonellosis.
  • Take a faecal sample in all cases of gastroenteritis who report having eaten at the Bottle of Milk prior to their onset of illness.
  • Health care services should use standard and contact precautions when managing cases of gastroenteritis in line with local policies.
  • Provide appropriate clinical management, particularly if there is fever, blood in stool or clinical evidence of dehydration.
  • Advise exclusion from work, school or childcare until 24 hours free of symptoms.
  • Notify the department on 1300 651 160 of any cases associated with this premises.

What is the issue?

A number of individuals who ate at the Bottle of Milk restaurant in the last week have reported gastroenteritis that has been severe in some cases and is consistent with a bacterial cause. One case has been confirmed to have Salmonellosis. The department and Surf Coast Shire Council are investigating and the restaurant has been closed. Cases have been reported from across Victoria.

Who is at risk?

The precise period of any exposure is not yet known, however individuals who attended the Bottle of Milk on or since 3 February 2014 should seek medical advice if they have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting, fever or other symptoms of gastroenteritis. Infants, the elderly and the immunosuppressed are particularly at risk of dehydration and complications.

Symptoms and transmission

Symptoms can take up to 72 hours to develop and usually involve fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms usually resolve in 5-7 days although infants, the elderly and the immunosuppressed are particularly at risk of dehydration and can require admission to hospital for treatment.

Salmonellosis can be passed from person to person so hand hygiene is important and cases should stay home from work, school or child care until they have been well for 24 hours. Food handlers, healthcare workers and childcare workers in particular must stay away from work until 48 hours after the last symptom has ended.

Contact precautions should be taken in health care settings, which are washing hands with soap and water, and use of gloves and aprons by healthcare workers treating cases.


Stool samples should be taken in all suspected cases.

Treatment is at the discretion of the managing clinician however fever, blood in stool and dehydration should prompt consideration of active treatment. Individuals caring for cases should wash hands frequently with soap and water.