Around 150 students and teachers from a school in Belgium are ill with possible food poisoning.

The Agency for Care and Health (Zorg en Gezondheid) and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) are investigating to find the source of the suspected Salmonella outbreak.

Students and teachers from the Spermalie Hotel and Tourism School in Bruges became ill this past Friday and over the weekend. Students at the school train for a job in hotels, restaurants or the foodservice sector by specializing in tourism or hospitality plus special classes on hotel management and catering.

The Agency for Care and Health received information late last week about a large number of students from the school complaining of gastrointestinal illness.

Salmonella found in patients; food samples pending

Stool analyses of two students and one teacher have shown the presence of Salmonella bacteria.

The agency has also launched an online survey of students and teachers to find out who ate what and in which school restaurant to help identify the source of contamination.

FASFC inspectors have taken samples of the meal served on Thursday at the school restaurant and have also looked at meals available on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Food samples have been sent to the laboratory of Sciensano, the Belgian Institute for Health.

The school was ordered to clean and disinfect the kitchen of the canteen, toilets, and items like doorknobs, which has been completed. Cleaning of kitchen workshops and other toilets is ongoing.

Belgium reported 2,698 confirmed salmonellosis cases in 2016 compared to 3,050 the year before.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food.

Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

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