PUBLIC Health Wales and Conwy County Borough Council are investigating a number of linked cases of a parasitic illness in the Colwyn Bay area.

Giardia is a parasite that can infect the gastrointestinal tract. It commonly causes diarrhoea but can also cause flatulence, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and loss of appetite.

It can be caught by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water and can also be contracted by dogs and cats.

It is more common in developing countries with poor sanitary conditions and a lack of water quality control.

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: "We advise anyone in the Colwyn Bay area with symptoms of concern to contact their GP. Anyone with diarrhoea or vomiting illness should stay away from school, nursery or work until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have resolved.

“Giardia can be spread from person to person if strict hygiene is not observed and so we advise that people wash their hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food, using their own separate soap and a towel that is washed on a high temperature in the washing machine afterwards.”

More information on Giardia can be found on the NHS Direct Wales website.