Whilst symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea are thankfully a thing of the past for attendees of Mansfield College Ball, the fall-out from the event is ongoing with new suggestions that the organisers may be forced to pay compensation to those affected.
It is widely believed that the cause of the illnesses was a batch of dodgy oysters on offer at the Atlantis-themed event.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is currently investigating the outbreak, with some 130 cases having been reported since the Ball on 3rd February.
Yet a senior claimant lawyer working for Leigh Day & Co, a leading firm of personal injury solicitors, has suggested that Mansfield College, or the caterers that they used for the Ball, could be held financially responsible for “injuries suffered by guests”.
Food poisoning claims solicitor Michelle Victor has experience representing numerous groups of people who have been afflicted with food poisoning, either because of food consumed in UK restaurants, or whilst on holiday abroad.
Victor commented of the Mansfield Ball: “We will not know yet the exact cause of this mass outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness amongst students until the HPA has concluded its investigations.
“However it is possible that the organisers of the ball, or the suppliers of any unsafe food, could be held responsible for any losses or injuries suffered by guests.”
Immediately after the event one attendee said to The Oxford Student: “Those of us affected are still being wracked by vomiting and other extremely unpleasant symptoms, and consequently are hoping for a significant amount of compensation.”
They also claimed that it was “fairly apparent that this is food poisoning caused by a bad batch of oysters”.
Regarding the ongoing investigation, Victor also added: “At a time when food regulators are under pressure because of the horse-meat scandal currently affecting food retailers in the UK the quicker the HPA can come up with a cause of this illness the better.”
A spokesperson for the HPA said: “The Health Protection Agency is working with Oxford University and local environmental health officers to investigate an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness at the University.
“Following an electronic survey to all who purchased tickets to an event at the college some 130 cases have been reported since February 3.”
They added: “Thames Valley Health Protection Unit (TVHPU), Oxford City Council Environmental Health officers and the colleges are collaborating to investigate this illness and any possible source but it is not yet known whether it is food or virus related.”
Neither the Mansfield Ball President nor the College were available for comment.