“Dozens” of people have been left suffering with norovirus-like symptoms after a Lego-enthusiast event in Bristol.
The organisers of the Bristol Brick Show, which took place from November 16-17, said they were “devastated” after a number of attendees were struck down with sickness and diarrhoea in the following days.
The annual festival, held at Action Indoor Sports in the Hengrove area of the city, welcomed some 4,000 people through its doors in what is the south west’s biggest Lego event.
Public health officers from Bristol City Council have confirmed they had received reports of illness following the event and were investigating.
The number of norovirus cases in the south west is on the rise, with Public Health England confirming that the number of cases was up from the same week in 2018.
Bristol Live reported that “dozens” of people had been affected.
Nick Amos, one of the event’s organisers and a member of Bristol Lego group GertLug said the way in which the illness had struck had been “completely random”.
“I must have been there for 40 hours over the weekend, I was basically living there, and I feel absolutely fine,” he explained. “Meanwhile, people like my brother who were there for maybe an hour have gotten the bug.
“Obviously something is going round at the moment, so it’s not clear where it’s come from.”
In a statement posted online, a spokesperson for Bristol Brick Show confirmed they had recieved reports that a “number of people” who attended the event had come down with the sickness bug.
They added: “Unfortunately there were no reports of sickness made during the duration of the show therefore we had no way of warning anyone nor identifying a source at the time.
“Many of you will know that Bristol has recently seen multiple cases of norovirus affecting schools, hospitals and other businesses in the area and the combination of that plus almost 4,000 people through our doors over the weekend seems to have contributed to an outbreak.
“We held the same event at the same venue last year with no known issues so are confident this is an unfortunate and isolated incident. As the organisers we are devastated that this has put a damper on an otherwise successful show obviously we wish everyone who is affected a speedy recovery.”
Bristol Live reported that more than £6,000 had been raised over the course of the weekend, to be split between CLiC and Children’s Hospice South West, for which organisers thanked attendees and added that they hoped “memories of the show” would not be “tainted” by events.
Amos said the weekend itself, which featured a display of original creations made by enthusiasts, went “brilliantly”, adding: “We were so impressed by the creations people had come up with. It’s such a shame that this has happened, but we are still really proud of how it went and how much money we managed to raise for our charities.”
A spokesperson for Action Indoor Sports said the venue had “always run with efficient procedures” with regards to health and safety standards, and maintained an “excellent” standard of food and beverage hygiene.
They said: “We will cooperate fully with all concerned to understand the facts and naturally wish those affected a speedy recovery”.
“Thousands” of people had been welcomed into the venue over the weekend for the event, with the spokesperson stating they had been “received and managed well”, adding that “speculation” over the cause of the illnesses was “premature”.
The centre remains open for business as usual.