Dozens hospitalized after possible food poisoning at Humber College
An ambulance bus transports students from a Humber College residence on Thursday night.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, January 20, 2017 5:53AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 20, 2017 4:11PM EST
Dozens of students at Humber College's north campus were taken to hospital on Thursday night after experiencing symptoms ranging from vomiting to abdominal pain.
Paramedics were initially called to the Humber Residences on Humber College Boulevard at around 9:30 p.m. after a number of students reported feeling ill.
Humber College says that 29 students were taken to hospital by paramedics. The college says that it is also aware of another 48 people that experienced symptoms but did not require hospitalization.
It is not clear what caused the students to fall ill at this point, though paramedics initially said that it could be a possible case of food poisoning.
“We don’t know what the source is. We have been in contact with the local hospitals and they have confirmed with us that they haven’t determined the source,” Dean of Students Jen McMillen told reporters on Friday. “Certainly in a high-density living environment like residence there are students that come in close contact with one another.”
McMillen told reporters that all the students that were taken to hospital returned to the residence over the course of the night and are continuing to recover.
She said that food services continue to be offered at Humber College, as there is “nothing to suggest” that food poisoning is to blame.
Meanwhile, in a statement Toronto Public Health said they have initiated an investigation but have not determined what caused the students to fall ill at this point.
“TPH will be reaching out to the students who reported that they were ill today to gather more information such as where they ate and what food they ate before they became ill and if they attended any specific functions where food was served before they became ill. TPH food safety inspectors will also be assisting with this investigation,” the statement read.
Later Friday, Toronto Public Health said they were trying to determine whether the illness was the result of a food source or from an organism being passed around in some other form.
"Common causes of gastroenteric outbreaks include a contaminated food in distribution or food becoming contaminated due to inadequate food handling practices at the point of preparation, as well as viral person to person transmission (i.e., transmission not related to a common food exposure)," TPH said.
The agency advised anyone who has become ill to stay home and drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. Those affected should also avoid preparing food for others and should wash their hands well prior to food consumption and after using the bathroom, the agency said.