Second gastro outbreak linked to Albert Park function venue

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Health professionals became ill after a medical conference dinner at an Albert Park function space just days before a wedding at the same venue left more than 70 guests with gastro.

Several people who attended the annual Australia and New Zealand Burns Association conference were admitted to The Alfred hospital with suspected gastroenteritis following a dinner held at The Park on Wednesday of last week, the second night of the conference.

The four-day event was cut short after the gastro cases emerged.

A second event has been linked to a gastro outbreak at The Park.

One conference attendee, who spoke to The Age on condition of anonymity, said guests had been given the choice of salmon or chicken at the dinner. She said she had experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea the day after eating the chicken. She had also eaten rice pudding.

About 300 people attended a wedding at The Park the following Saturday, and at least two were admitted to hospital with gastro on Monday.

The Park venue manager Bahaa Harb said health inspectors had visited the venue last Friday and management was given permission to continue operating that weekend.

“We received a routine health and safety site inspection from the City of Port Phillip, finding no issues with the health and safety practices,” he said.

“We have conducted a precautionary deep clean and have received approval from council to continue trading.”

Harb said the venue was investigating both outbreaks, alongside the City of Port Philip.

“We will continue to work closely with the City of Port Phillip to determine the cause of this outbreak and will keep our customers and impacted parties notified of the investigation’s findings.”

The state Health Department said it had been notified of a gastroenteritis outbreak in Albert Park on September 13 and last Saturday.

The department’s investigation, which was being carried out with Port Phillip Council and the South East Public Health Unit, was still to determine a cause.

At least 70 people who attended the wedding had reported being unwell following the event, according to the department. The number of people who had become ill after attending the medical conference had not been determined.

“We are following standard process and working with Port Phillip Council and South East Public Health Unit to investigate the source of the outbreak and ensure all appropriate infection prevention and control measures are in place,” a spokesperson said.

The department said it was not aware of any link between the outbreak at The Park and the ongoing cluster of listeriosis cases under investigation in Victoria.

The listeriosis investigation under way in Victoria, NSW and Queensland has been linked to M&J Chickens’ shredded chicken.

A spokesperson for M&J Chickens said it had ruled out any link to the gastro outbreak at The Park and the listeriosis outbreak linked to its shredded chicken. It did not supply chicken to The Park.

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