A SALMONELLA outbreak centred on a pie shop claimed another eight victims yesterday, as more people were diagnosed with the food bug.

As of last night, health officials stated there were 43 confirmed cases and another nine suspected cases in Derwentside, County Durham.

Four of the most severe cases were being treated in hospital.

Experts re-issued their warning that the situation was likely to worsen into the weekend.

The Health Protection Agency's outbreak control team believes Robson's Fresh Foods, in Front Street, Stanley, is a possible source of the outbreak.

The shop is well known in north Durham for its range of pies, cooked meats, and hot meat sandwiches.

Derwentside District Council issued an emergency prohibition order last Thursday to close the shop.

Meanwhile, health workers have urged anyone who bought products from the store before that date to throw them away as a precaution.

Salmonella is not generally life threatening, but can cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting and fever.

Anyone who fears they may have the infection is asked to contact their GP, or ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647.