HEALTH chiefs are investigating a national outbreak of sickness bug salmonella after 33 cases were confirmed in Cheshire and Merseyside. 

Public Health England (PHE) said the outbreak has so far affected 156 people across the country. 

Of the nearby cases, 31 have been linked to a Chinese takeaway in Liverpool. 

Dr Paul Cleary, a consultant epidemiologist leading the PHE investigation, said: "We are working with our colleagues across PHE, the Food Standards Agency, in local authorities and with other public health organisations in Europe to investigate the cause of this outbreak.

"We are making good progress and hope to have more conclusive evidence shortly.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and if there is any further public health action necessary then we will ensure that this takes place."

The illness, often linked with poultry or eggs, has symptoms including diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever but most people recover without treatment.

To avoid getting infected, advice is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before preparing and eating food, after handling raw food, after going to the toilet or changing a baby’s nappy and after contact with pets.