Partygoers fall ill after weekend Christmas events at P.E.I. hotel

Nigel Armstrong
Published on December 9, 2015

Dr. Heather Morrison

©Guardian file photo

Chief Public Health Officer has 59 confirmed cases of intestinal upset following buffet parties at Delta hotel

Some 59 people have reported sympthoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea following a night of corporate Christmas parties at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown Saturday.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said her office was told about it early this week and launched what is a routine investigation.

“The symptoms of those affected include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea,” she said.

“There have been no reports of hospitalizations to date. Most people have been recovering within one to two days.”

The symptom onset for the majority of cases began on Monday.

Morrison said questionnaires were sent to staff who worked those functions and to all guests that could be identified.

Outbreaks like this are rare but regular throughout a year, she said, and finding an exact cause is often difficult. It may be an organism carried into the hotel and spread by hands touching a serving utensil at a buffet, for example.

“In addition to the questionnaires, stool samples are being collected from those who still have symptoms, environmental health inspectors have been speaking to staff at the hotel, and any leftover food is being kept for possible testing,” said Morrison.

“Enteric (vomiting and diarrhea) illness may be due to different causes, some which are food-related but others (most commonly viruses) are passed from person-to-person, often prior to anyone realizing they are ill,” she said.

“The Delta has been very co-operative with the investigation and the hotel has enhanced cleaning measures in place.”