A Canada Day holiday picnic turned nasty for a group of around ten people, as they suffered an attack of E.coli food poisoning.
A Srilankan group of students who visited Morningside park in Scarborough, at Toronto's east end, for a picnic organized by the Punqudutivu Students Association of Sri Lanka were taken ill with severe symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Toronto Public Health on Thursday confirmed six cases of E. coli from the group. Those infected were hospitalized, with one suffering severe kidney complications.
The number climbed to 10 on Friday, prompting officials to issue a plea for the hundreds who attended to look for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and severe abdominal pain.
"We are looking into what was served at the event," Dr. Herveen Sachdeva, associate medical officer of health, was quoted.
Specialists say that E. coli is normally spread through contaminated food or drinks, and that it can also be spread from person to person in households.
Symptoms sometimes do not appear until several days later.
The particular strain of the bacteria identified is said to be incredibly contagious and can be fatal, and the young and the elderly are most at risk.
Although it is rare to see outbreaks such as this one, food safety experts say this example is a reminder to be careful when cooking meat and preparing food.