More than 80 child protection employees in Brantford, Ontario, were reportedly sickened by a foodborne illness after a recent day-long stress management conference. Andy Koster, executive director of Brant Family and Children’s Services, said Thursday, Sept. 17, that between 80-100 workers had called in sick starting last Friday, Sept. 11. “Some people have symptoms that are going on well beyond the regular time associated with food poisoning,” Koster said. “But people are working really hard to deliver our services and those who aren’t ill are doing double duty.” The annual event was held at the St. George Arena just north of Brantford and featured a catered lunch. The conference, which about 200 people attended, included a professional speaker discussing stress management and how to deal with the tough situations faced by many child protection workers. Koster said the catered lunch offered egg salad wraps, chicken wraps, and potato salad. “On Friday morning, we had people calling saying ‘we’re down four people on our unit’ and people were reporting stomach pains and diarrhea,” he said. The illnesses are under investigation by the Brant County Health Unit, which conducted interviews with questionnaires of those who were sickened and those who weren’t, and stool samples had been sent off for lab testing in Hamilton and Toronto.
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