Health officials following growing salmonella problem
The City of Ottawa has assigned 11 public health investigators to what appears to be a growing salmonella problem.
More people are coming forward with violent symptoms of the food poisoning, with 20 positive tests confirmed by the city's health department.
The city said there could be others to come.
"We've had some people call in from other schools who said their children are ill, we're following those," said Dr. Carolyn Pim, Ottawa's associate medical officer of health.
"We've reassigned quite a few staff to this particular investigation, we have five public health inspectors and six public health nurses redeployed to do the interviews."
The confirmed cases, 16 children and four adults, are coming from three schools and a daycare.
Lana Mackenzie said her ten-year-old daughter Maya is awaiting test results after a less-than-fun March Break.
"The intensity of the symptoms she had were beyond stomach flu and (gastro-intestinal illnesses)," she said. "It's probably been the worst week of our lives, to watch your child suffer like that . . . it's devastating."
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that can cause nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Health officials have only been able to talk to about half of those confirmed ill but the link appears to be The Lunch Lady food catering services, which supplies schools and daycares.
The company sent out an e-mail Wednesday saying its tacos and meat lasagna have been identified as potential sources and they've voluntarily closed their west Ottawa.
"I actually looked it up last night and found out she had lasagna, and the e-mail I received today said tacos and lasagna," said Mackenzie. "You're just like ‘oh God', your stomach drops."
"We want to know what happened, we want to know what it is, we're in all of our kitchens," said Ruthie Bird, The Lunch Lady's founder and CEO. We're very very careful and so if there's something, we need to know what it is."
Ottawa Public Health has sent samples from The Lunch Lady to a lab for analysis and said a full inspection of their facility on Monday showed they were in full compliance.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee