Public Health England (PHE) is looking into a national outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis after cases were reported in Hampshire, London, the West Midlands, Cheshire and Merseyside. What were being called “isolated clusters” of cases over the past few months are now considered potentially linked, officials said. There were 25 cases reported in London and 55 in Hampshire, with 32 of those linked to The Real China restaurant chain in Eastleigh in July, officials said. Additionally, there were 33 cases reported in Cheshire and 43 in the West Midlands, with the latter linked to Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, where three people sickened by Salmonella reportedly died. Test results showed all 156 cases involved closely related strains of S. Enteritidis, which is often associated with poultry or eggs. PHE investigators were said to be working with officials from the U.K. Food Standards Agency to find the source of the outbreak, which has also sickened 49 people in France and an unknown number in Austria. “We are making good progress and hope to have more conclusive evidence shortly,” said Dr. Paul Cleary, consultant epidemiologist leading the PHE investigation. “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.” While anyone can be infected with Salmonella bacteria, young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly have a greater risk of becoming severely ill. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever.