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Almost 100 people report symptoms of foodborne illness at Toronto CNE: officials

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

TORONTO - The number of people reporting symptoms of foodborne illness after attending the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto has now reached almost 100, public officials said Thursday.

About a dozen people who had symptoms of gastrointestinal illnesses were treated by paramedics at the fair Tuesday night and five of them were sent to hospital.

The number of reported cases rose to 34 on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Toronto Public Health said the agency is focusing its investigation on Epic Burger and Waffles — a food vendor known for its headline-making cronut burger.

"However, all possible sources of illness are being investigated," Dr. Lisa Berger said in a statement.

She added that "overall risk to the general public is low."

Epic Burger and Waffles will voluntarily remain closed for the second day in a row as the investigation continues.

Berger said people reported feeling sick after consuming food between Aug. 16 and 20.

She added that samples of food were sent to a laboratory for testing, and it typically takes between 48 and 72 hours to get results.

Public health has not confirmed the source of illness.

"All the food that was available at that food premise has been disposed of," Berger said at a news conference Wednesday.

She added that people could have become ill at the fair due to dehydration and heat as well as food.

Public health is asking anyone with symptoms such as an upset stomach, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration to notify the organization.

Prior to the exhibition, Berger said more than 1,600 food handlers had been trained and public health officials did more than 200 inspections at the site.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he feels for the people who got sick.

"It's terrible when people have diarrhea and are vomiting all night," he said. "You get food poisoning — it is the worst — I've had it a couple of times and you just feel like you're dying."

However, Ford said he believes the issue has been resolved and encouraged people to go to the fair and "have fun."

The CNE remains open until Sept. 2.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130822/almost-100-people-report-symptoms-foodborne-illness-at-toron