Patrons of a popular venue in Melbourne fell ill just days before a wedding at the same venue left dozens with suspected gastroenteritis, it has emerged.
A number of guests attending a health conference at The Park in Albert Park on Wednesday came down with gastro-like symptoms, and some were admitted to hospital.
Three days later up to 30 people including children fell sick after more than 300 guests celebrated a wedding at the same venue.
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It is believed up to three of the sick guests spent a night in hospital and the bride and groom are now weighing up their legal options.
Victoria’s Department of Health is investigating if the meals were the cause of the illnesses, with some wedding guests eating chicken and others having pork for their main course. Meals that were served on the night have been provided to authorities.
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The venue is also working with authorities to determine the cause of the outbreak, with management saying it could be attributed to food poisoning or a viral infection spread by a guest or staff.
Venue manager Bahaa Harb said, “we don’t know” where the issue started.
“The last thing you want to hear is someone’s special day is ruined by this but hopefully it will be over soon and hopefully people are recovered and we’ll have some answers,” Harb said.
Guests at Wednesday’s conference ate different food to that consumed by guests at the wedding.
Up to 30 people including children became ill after a wedding celebration at The Park in Alfred Park, Melbourne. Credit: Sunrise
The department confirmed the wedding incident is not linked to the current listeria outbreak across Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
On Wednesday, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Dr Anita Munoz told Sunrise that while it was a “dreadful story,” the scale of 10 per cent of guests falling ill from eating potentially contaminated food is “not surprising”.
“I feel very sorry for everybody involved but when you think of a wedding of 300 people, to have 30 affected probably isn’t surprising,” she said.
“Clearly we know now that 30 people have eaten the food that was contaminated, we don’t yet know what was contaminated and they don’t yet know what bacteria is to blame.
“I wouldn’t expect any of the food is now still available for testing and we know that different bacteria or viruses have different incubation times, so the amount of time it took for people to get sick after they ate the food is one of the ways to start to determine what is to blame.”
Munoz said more than three days since the wedding, it would be unusual for anyone else to get sick and there should not be any new cases.
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