RISKY: A chicken curry dish may not have been kept adequately warm.
RISKY: A chicken curry dish may not have been kept adequately warm. BUNKEN

Food poisoning outbreak now affects 250 education staff

THE number of school principals who have fallen ill with food poisoning after a Brisbane conference continues to rise, with 250 people now reporting gastro symptoms.

This includes 30 people in the Darling Downs public health unit, three in Mackay, 18 in Rockhampton, 34 on the Sunshine Coast, 18 in the Wide Bay region, 11 at the West Moreton health unit and 58 in Brisbane.

About 1400 people attended the conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last week and about one in six people have fallen ill, with salmonella believed to be the cause of the sickness.

In just 24 hours the number of sick principals rose from 175 on Tuesday to 250 yesterday.

The Department of Health would not comment any further yesterday but chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said on Tuesday they believed the sickness was due to salmonella from food.

She said the department was working with the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre to determine the menu and the source of the illness.

"It was a variable menu," she said. "We'll just have to work through and see what people ate."

It has been reported that a chicken curry dish may not have been kept adequately warm while being served at the conference, but Dr Young said the department was investigating all of those issues.

"Our focus at the moment is to work out what the food source was to make sure that is removed," she said.

She also said this was a large food poisoning outbreak but was not record-breaking.

Salmonella was usually caused by poorly cooked meat, poultry and eggs, Dr Young said.

She also said the department was alerted to the outbreak on Sunday. 

FACTBOX

Number of people who have reported gastro symptoms following a conference:

Darling Downs - 30

Mackay - 3

Rockhampton - 18

Sunshine Coast - 34

Wide Bay - 18

West Moreton - 11

Brisbane - 58

About 1400 people attended the conference

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